and a nuisance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Americans throw away more than 4 million tons of mail a year. It is nearly impossible to completely eliminate junk mail; however, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington offers tips to help reduce mailbox clutter:
Opt-out. Contact the sender, marketer or bulk-mailer to remove contact information from lists.
- To avoid receiving "pre-screened" credit and insurance offers: Call 1-888-567-8688 or visit Optoutprescreen.com - the official website of the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies: Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion. For identification confirmation, those who opt-out will be asked for their name, phone number, Social Security number, and date of birth; the website form is secured and information is kept confidential. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers are eligible to opt-out for five years or permanently.
- To help stop product solicitations: Opt-out of mail from companies represented by the Direct Marketing Association at www.dmachoice.org. Also opt-out from companies associated with the Canadian Marketing Association. Registration may take six months to take full effect.
- To avoid being overwhelmed by catalogs: Contact Epsilon, an alliance of direct marketing companies and programs including Abacus and Shopper's Voice. To avoid receiving "resident" mailings: Contact Valassis, formerly ADVO, Inc. To help stop coupon packs: Contact Cox Target Media.
Go paperless. Contact current service providers: Ask to opt-out of solicitations and find out if they can email statements or post them online instead of mailing them.
Shred unneeded personal documents. Visit www.akorww.bbb.org/secure-your-id for free shredding locations.
Visit www.bbb.org or the Federal Trade Commission for more tips.