Let Me (Opt) Out!

By now, you have probably heard of the "Do not call" list. You may have even signed up for it. But did you know you can opt out of more than just telemarketing calls?

For those few who are not yet familiar with the "Do not call" list, it is a registry the government has recently provided to get you off of certain - but not all - telemarketers lists. Certain categories of telemarketers, such as long telephone surveys, political campaigns, charities and businesses with whom you already have a relationship, may still call you. Your registration is good for five years. If you haven't done this already, go to http://www.donotcall.gov/ or call 1-888-382-1222 to register. You will start receiving fewer calls in three months.

You can also decrease the amount of junk mail you get in two ways. First, register with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. Companies with the DMAs service will receive your information on a 'delete' list. This will not stop mail from other companies, however. Once again, this registration will be in effect for five years. You can register online at www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html. You can also register at the DMA to be removed from email lists at http://www.dmaconsumers.org/offemaillist.html, but this request will only be effective for one year. This is only effective for their lists, so may not be particularly effective in decreasing spam, unfortunately. There are now many laws in different nations, however, requiring spammers to honor unsubscribe requests. It is unclear if this will be effective, but it's something of a start.

The second way to decrease your junk mail is to register with the credit bureaus. This will stop the 'pre-approved' credit card offers that you get in the mail. Just call 1-888-5-OPTOUT for information and to give them your information. They will need your name, phone number and social security number. This information will only be used to stop these offers. Also contact the three credit bureaus about not sharing your information for promotional purposes. This does not appear to be available online at this time, so you will need to write to each of the bureaus to opt out. Be sure to include in your request your name, address, previous address, social security number, birthdate, and of course the request to be removed from their marketing lists. Their addresses are:

Equifax, Inc.
PO Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Consumer Opt-Out
701 Experian Parkway
Allen, TX 75013

Marketing List Opt Out
PO Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288-7328


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