Not only is getting junk mail needlessly annoying, but all that paper is a huge waste. (Yes, we’re talking snail mail.) So what if you could “opt-out” of such wasteful annoyances? It’s actually easier than you might think.
While the Federal Trade Commission thinks you should keep happily receiving mail you don’t want, you’re under no obligation. The FTC manages the process for removing people from pre-screened credit and insurance pitches and they warn that you might actually want some of the offers.
“As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance,” their website reads. “Prescreened offers can help you learn about what’s available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.”
If you still don’t want the offers and/or are tired of seeing perfectly good trees go to waste, skipping past the “you should think about this some more” portion of the site and going straight to the opt-out section is the way to go.
First, decide if you just want a break or want to opt-out forever. You can choose to stop receiving offers for five years or permanently. To opt out for five years, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. Opting out forever takes a bit more work.
To begin the process, go to www.optoutprescreen.com, but your request will need to be completed by signing and returning the Permanent Opt-Out Election form you’ll get after beginning the online request. You will be asked to provide information such as your telephone number, name, social security number and date of birth.
You can also send a written request to permanently opt out to each of the major consumer reporting companies. Those addresses are below:
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495
It is important to note that it may take up to a month before you stop receiving the junk mail and that this opt-out process only applies to major consumer reporting companies. You may still get mail from local merchants, religious and charitable associations or credit and insurance mail based on lists from other sources.
[h/t: The Penny Hoarder]