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Unwanted Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls

Things You Should Know About...

Unwanted Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls

Experts estimate that Americans receive almost two million tons of junk mail every year, with the average person spending eight full months of his or her life just opening it. Moreover, junk mail wastes more than just time. Many consumers are concerned about the amount of paper used to print the catalogs, advertisements, sweepstakes announcements and other junk mail they receive on a daily basis.

Frequent telemarketing calls and unsolicited commercial email messages are also time consuming and irritating. To reduce the time and frustration you spend dealing with unwanted junk mail, phone calls and email messages, check out the tips below.

How Do Companies Get Your Name?
Companies often get names through national advertising lists used by direct marketers. Direct marketers sell their goods and services to consumers through mail, catalogs and telemarketing. The advertising lists are compiled from many sources and are then sold to the direct marketers to use in their marketing campaigns.

Telemarketing Rules

  • Federal and Illinois law prohibits telephone solicitations before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

  • Telemarketers are required to identify themselves with their name, the company they represent and a phone number at which their company may be contacted.

  • You may ask any telemarketer to put you on a do-not-call list if you do not want them to contact you again.

Reducing Junk Mail
You can eliminate your name from large advertising lists that are sold to direct mail marketers. Businesses that are members of the Direct Marketers Association are required to remove your name from their mailing list if you subscribe to the Mail Preference Service. The registration fee to place your name on the Mail Preference List is $1 if you register by mail and $5 if you register online. Once you place your name on the remove list, the amount of junk mail you receive will begin to decrease after about three months and your name will stay on the list for approximately five years. At the end of each five-year period, you may register your name on the removal list again. You can register for the Mail Preference Service through the US Mail at the following address:

Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

Or, you can register online at the website of the Direct Marketers Association:

Sexually Oriented Mail
If you do not want to receive sexually oriented mail, fill out Form 2201 and Form 290 at your local post office. These forms must be completed by the person to whom the mail is addressed. To complete Form 2150, you must include the envelope and entire contents of the sexually oriented mail you received, sign the front of the envelope, indicate the date it was received and attach it to the form.

To reduce the number of unsolicited commercial email messages you receive, submit your request via the Direct Marketing Associationís online form. Your name will usually stay on the removal list for approximately one year.

Other Types of Mail
For other types of mail, you may write directly to the companies sending you mail and tell them to stop. In your letter, include your full name and address, along with your request to be removed from their mailing list.

Telemarketing Calls
You can also reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. Send your name and telephone number (including area code) to:

DMA Telephone Preference Service
PO Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512-1559

Better Business Bureau

Federal Trade Commission

Register for the Do Not Call Registry Over the Internet or Over the Phone

To register through the Internet:

  • Go to and follow the instructions:
    1. You will be asked to provide:
      • The telephone number(s) that you would like to register. (You are allowed to register up to three separate numbers.)
      • A valid email address that the Federal Trade Commission can use for confirmation.
    2. After you provide the information requested, you can exit the Do Not Call website.
    3. You will receive an email confirming your wish to have your phone number(s) put on the Do Not Call Registry. You must reply to the email within 72 hours of logging on the Do Not Call website for the first time.

To register over the phone:

  • Call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) and follow the instructions:
    1. You will be asked to enter your phone number.
    2. The computer will check for a match between the number you entered and the number from which you are calling.
    3. If it matches, you will hear a message informing you that you are registered.
  • You must call from the phone number you want to put on the Do Not Call Registry.
  • You can only register the number from which you are calling.

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