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Strategies for Handling Unwanted Calls and Junk Mail

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RISMEDIA, March 14, 2008-(MCT)-Americans tossed about 6 million tons of catalogs and other pieces of direct mail solicitations during 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. Junk mail represents a waste of time, money and paper.

Here are a few strategies for handling unwanted mail and phone calls.

Open mail near a trash can. Quickly sorting and discarding mail eliminates clutter and temptation.

Opt out of junk mail databases. When you buy a product, you have a right to demand privacy, according to the consumer group Center for a New American Dream. When filling out a magazine subscription card or a product warranty form, make the following request: “Do not rent, trade or sell my name or address,” or write: “No mailing lists.”

Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service (MPS) at https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/ and you’ll be removed from junk mail lists. It costs a dollar and can be completed online or through the mail.

Banish unwanted credit card offers by calling: 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688). This phone call removes your name and address from the registry maintained and sold by the major credit reporting agencies to third-party vendors. A voice prompt will request your name, address and Social Security number. “Don’t feel obligated to provide a Social Security number,” says Tim Sanchez of the Center for a New American Dream.

Limit unsolicited material by calling the toll-free customer service number listed on a mailing. Request the removal of your name and address from the company’s mailing list.

Eliminate calls from telemarketers by registering at www.donotcall.gov

Stay alert. With every purchase (online or mail order), your name can be sold again. “It’s important that you stay on top of that. It’s easy to get back into the system,” Sanchez says. “Be diligent.”

© 2008, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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