Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

How to stop junk mail

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Greg Peck
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Here’s part of an email we recently got from a reader:

“Did you ever get tired of going to your mailbox every day and bringing in an armful of junk mail? Also this week, a gang of thieves in Tennessee and Florida got my Mastercard number and scammed off a $30 charge, which I caught right away. …

“I have been frustrated lately by the constant bombardment of junk mail. Finally, I have found a solution to this problem. I have discovered that when you get one of these super offers in the mail, and they include a postage-paid return envelope, the sender has to pay for the return postage. Some of these offers even give you a final date to respond to their super saving offers. I received three of these special offers in the mail yesterday. Rather than keep hauling all this junk mail in every day until my knees give out, and being 75 years old, I took each offer and wrote DECEASED on the bill and put it back in the postage-paid envelope.

“Then putting it back in the mailbox with the flag up, it will also tell me when the mailman was here and I can go out and get my mail!”

Well, I would think that, over time, this should solve much of his problem with junk mail. Another trick I’ve heard is stuffing as much junk mail—even unrelated material—as you can back into these postage-paid envelopes. That inflates the postage costs the senders must pay. Maybe they’ll get the hint.

Here’s another idea. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website offers suggestions for avoiding prescreened offers of credit and insurance. The website lists ways to opt out for five years or permanently with a phone call or by clicking on a link to another website.

The FTC also lists another website or phone number that will let you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies through the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service.

Absent taking these steps or our reader’s advice, city of Janesville residents can simply toss all that junk mail in their recycling bins to pad the haul to the processing plant.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re tired of unsolicited junk mail clogging your email inbox, that FTC site also reveals ways to slow that flow.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Last updated: 8:24 am Monday, July 29, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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