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4 ways to opt out of junk mail

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Clark Howard, Clark.com

In the aftermath of the Equifax breach, I’ve recommended people do a credit freeze. Yet there’s a question that has popped up again and again about what happens after you freeze your credit.

When someone freezes their credit, they may get a letter in their mailbox from individual credit bureaus asking if they want to stop pre-approved credit card offers from coming to their address. The letter asks them to write their Social Security number and mail it back.

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@davidfolkenflik

Naturally, if you’re worried about identity theft, the last thing you want to do is put down your Social Security number and send it off in the mail!

How to opt out of getting preapproved credit offers and other junk mail

Here’s how I prefer you handle the situation…

OptOutPreScreen

My first preference for you opting out of preapproved credit card and insurance offers is to go to OptOutPreScreen.com or call 888-567-8688.

The OptOutPreScreen website is a joint venture of the credit bureaus that lets you tell them you don’t want their junk mail. Best of all, it’s free and you can do it in one fell swoop for each bureau instead of doing it piecemeal by responding to snail mail.

You will be asked to give your Social Security number on the website. But it’s not necessary, according to the site’s FAQs:

Your Social Security Number is not required to process an Opt-Out request through OptOutPrescreen.com. However, we strongly urge you to provide this information because it helps to ensure that we can successfully process your request.

Two special notes about OptOutPreScreen.com: First, as you’re doing this online, be sure you select the ‘Electronic Opt-Out for Five Years’ option. The default selection will actually sign you up for more junk mail, so be careful.

Second, opting out of these offers is especially important if you move and your mail goes to an old address, or if you have a jointly shared mailbox.

DMAChoice and CatalogChoice

Here’s another way to cut down on your junk mail: DMAChoice.org and CatalogChoice.org both help you get fewer direct mailings and catalogs in your mailbox.

While CatalogChoice is free, DMAChoice costs $2. But that might well be the best two bucks you ever spend!

You can stop catalog offers, magazine offers and other direct mail offers with three clicks of your mouse once you sign up for DMAChoice — and your name stays off those marketer lists for a full 10 years!

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Just be sure to give it 30 to 90 days to take effect once you pull yourself off those annoying lists.

Take the low-tech approach

Finally, there’s a low-tech kind of way that works to de-clutter your email inbox. Simply go to the search bar on your email and enter keyword ‘unsubscribe.’

Your email will then pull up all the mail from legitimate companies that offer an unsubscribe link. You can quickly go through it and unsubscribe from whatever you no longer want to receive. It’s that easy!

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