Junk mail isn’t stuff you signed up for — it’s the catalogs and preapproved credit card offers you don’t want that really clog your mailbox. Companies can get your name and address from lists of “prospective customers” their partners share with them — stores you’ve shopped at, banks you’ve done business with or clubs you’ve joined. You could unsubscribe to some of these manually by contacting the company’s customer service, but it’s easier and more efficient to try and remove your name from these lists entirely.
DMAChoice.org, a tool offered by the Data & Marketing Association, lets you remove your name and address from a number of these lists. After registering an account and paying a $2 fee, you can unsubscribe from entire categories of mail — like catalogs and advertisements — or unsubscribe from specific catalogs you don’t want. Catalogchoice.org is a free alternative, but only allows you to unsubscribe from catalogs one at a time — you can’t remove yourself from entire lists.
To unsubscribe from those preapproved credit and insurance offers, you’ll need to sign up for OptOutPrescreen.com, a service offered by the major credit bureaus. You’ll need to give them some information, including your Social Security number, but is a legitimate service recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. You can opt out of these offers for five years online, or you can mail in a form to opt out permanently.