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Many Americans open their mailboxes to find them stuffed with envelopes bearing the names of unfamiliar or unsolicited companies. 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened. As a result, about 5.6 million tons of mail offers and advertisements end up in U.S. landfills every year, according to a report by the New York University School of Law. In the digital age, junk mail is no longer limited to a mailbox—it can just as easily manifest itself as junk catalogues, emails and phone calls.

If you’re looking to limit or stop your receipt of junk mail all together, you have options. There are simple steps that you can take to help regain control of your mailbox, inbox and phone.

CATALOGUES

When you order something from a catalogue, personal information such as your name and address is often given to Abacus, an alliance of data-sharing catalogue companies. This enables other companies to send you their catalogues without you ever signing-up for them. To stop receiving junk mail catalogues, visit Catalogue Choice, a free, online service that helps individuals and businesses reduce the amount of unsolicited catalogues they receive. You can also contact Abacus by email to request that your information be removed at privacy@epsilon.com, or by mail: Epsilon, Privacy Manager, 2550 Crescent Drive, Lafayette, CO 80026.

CREDIT OFFERS

If you are receiving pre-screened offers of credit or insurance, you can opt out by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com, the official website of the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry, or by calling representatives at 1-888-567-8688. For a permanent option to eliminating credit and insurance junk mail, return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form. This option will require you to disclose your name, phone number, and birth date.

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS

If you find your mailbox is frequently filling with unwanted promotional materials, contact representatives at your bank and credit card companies directly and tell them not to release personal information such as your name, mailing address, email address or phone number to anyone for marketing or promotional purposes. You can also register for the national Do Not Mail list through DirectMail.com. This is a free service that will allow you to review your mailing preferences and indicate if there are certain promotional mailings that you would like to continue to receive.

EMAILS

Receiving regular junk emails but unsure about how to stop them? Simply selecting “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email is not enough—it can send a spammer information about your account and puts your computer at a greater risk of malware infection. To remove your email address from e-marketers’ lists, go to DMA Choice and fill out the online Email Opt Out form.  Although this service may not eliminate junk emails all together, it will reduce them.

PHONECALLS

In order to avoid unsolicited calls from telemarketers, register your phone number online with the Do Not Call list, a service provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Registering your number will prevent telemarketers from calling your number after 31 days of your registration date. For more information about the Do Not Call registry and how to sign up, visit our office’s website.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws and Arbitration Program, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

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