The Legal Ways to Stop USPS Junk Mail

By Julie Ackendorf
Junk mail can be dramatically reduced if not eliminated.

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Everyday mailboxes are crammed full of unsolicited material known as junk mail. Junk mail can consist of credit card offers, insurance offers, ads and requests for donations. While much junk mail is harmless, items -- such as pre-approved credit card offers -- can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. There are actions an individual can take to reduce the amount of junk mail he receives on a daily basis.

Opt Out of Credit Card and Insurance Offers

Insurance and credit card offers are major sources of junk mail. An offer for a pre-approved credit card can be harmful if stolen as identity theft can easily occur. It is possible to stop these offers from ending up in a residential mailbox either temporarily or permanently. To stop receiving credit card or insurance offers an individual should call 1-800-5-OPT-OUT. You can opt out of receiving these offers for five years, or you can choose to never receive these types of offers again.

Write to Consumer Reporting Companies

Credit reporting bureaus play a role in providing personal information that allows senders of junk mail to discover an individual's address. The three consumer reporting companies are Equifax, Experion and TransUnion. To stop receiving unwanted mailings an individual should make a written request to all three companies. In the request you must include your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and telephone number. The addresses of Equifax, Experion and Trans Union can be found on their business websites.

Contact the Direct Marketing Association

The Direct Marketing Association, DMA, allows individuals to register for their Mail Preference Service. Individuals looking to limit the amount of junk mail they receive should take advantage of this service. The DMA provides marketers with a do not mail list that allows companies to delete the names of individual who do not desire ads or offers in their mailbox.

Call Companies Directly

To stop receiving junk mail from specific companies an individual should call these companies directly. This includes businesses that mail out unwanted catalogs, sales ads, promotions, as well as sweepstakes, such as Publisher's Clearinghouse.

Return to Sender

Some types of mail can be returned to its source. Junk mail that is sent first class, or has return address or change service requested on the envelope can be refused. If an individual receives this type of mail from a company or charity he should write "Return to Sender" on the envelope and mail it back.

About the Author

Julie Ackendorf has been a writer since 2007. She has contributed health, legal and parenting articles for various online publications. Ackendorf graduated from SUNY Empire State College, earning a Bachelor of Science in community and human services with a minor in child and adolescent development.

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