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Posted: 1:28 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2015

4 Ways To Opt Out of Junk Mail

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


In the aftermath of the Anthem 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 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.

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 card offers

Here's how I prefer you handle the situation: My first preference for you opting out is to go to OptOutPreScreen.com or call 888-567-8688.

This website is a joint venture of the credit bureaus that lets you tell them you don't want their junk mail! But note this well: You will be required to give your Social Security number. That's how credit bureaus track people, so it's a necessary part of the process. This is a legitimate request for your Social Security number!

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.

And 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. The latter has recently been rebranded as TrustedID Mail Preference Service.

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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