How to Stop Junk Mail

By Techwalla Internet Editor

If you are tired of getting junk mail, don't worry. You can be more in control of the types and volume of junk mail you get from nonprofit or commercial companies, if you know what to do. If you want to get off junk mail lists, here are a few simple things that you can do and leave your mailbox free and clear for all the important mail that you have coming.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Computer

Step 1

Sign up for DMA's Mail Preference Service (MPS). This will help decrease the amount of national advertising mail you receive. You may still continue to receive mail from companies with which you have done business, as they send out mailings based on previous customer lists, and not on lists that are purchased from companies that just compile addresses.

Step 2

Registering for MPS can be done 2 ways. You can fill out an online form, which can be found on the Internet. This is the fastest way to see results. Or you can fill out a mail-in registration form, which also can be found on the Internet. Whichever way you choose there will be a $1 charge (see Resources).

Step 3

If you receive mailings from a particular company, you can contact that company and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Allow 30 to 90 days for mailings to phase out, as many companies plan mailings far in advance and have systems that cannot be disrupted to remove one name at a time.

Step 4

Signing up with DMA puts your name and address on a "do-not-mail" file. DMA members are required to run their list of prospective customers against the file and remove those individuals who registered, so they do not send their mailings to the individuals on the list.

Step 5

To reduce the number of pre-screened credit and insurance offers that you are receiving, go to the Internet and visit the official Web site called Opt-Out PreScreen. Here, you can sign up online to 1) opt-in and get offers, 2) opt-out electronically for 5 years, or 3) opt-out by mail forever. If you want to make sure you don't receive any more offers period, then choose the third option, which means you will be permanently off the mailing lists credit card and insurance companies get.

Step 6

Receiving junk mail should begin to decrease in about 3 months after your name is entered into the file. The "do-not-mail" file is updated monthly and is distributed 4 times a year. Your name stays on the list for 5 years, then you must register again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Signing up with MPS could prevent you from receiving some mail you may want, such as new catalogues, coupons, announcements of a new business openings in your area and notices of special offers.
  • MPS only applies to home addresses and not business addresses. You may still receive mail addressed to "resident/occupant" from local merchants, professional and alumni associations, political candidates and office holders.
  • You will have to sign up for the opt-out screening every 5 years or you will begin to get junk mail again in these services.