How to Stop Junk Mail: 4 Effective Tricks That Will Help You
Are you getting tired of all the unsolicited mail arriving into your postbox day by day? While most people probably already know how to deal with their electronic spam, direct marketing mail in our postboxes can often leave us desperately clueless.
This guide describes in detail how to stop junk mail effectively, fast, and almost for free.
Although preventing all the junk mail might seem like mission impossible, it’s often not that hard. Although no methods come with a 100% guarantee, today, we’re bringing you four tried and proven tricks that should help you get rid of about 90% of all the junk mail you’re receiving. The best thing is that they are super simple, and you can do them right now.
But first, let’s briefly discuss junk mail itself.
What is Junk Mail, and why do we keep receiving it?
Junk mail is any unsolicited mail that arrives in your mailbox. This can be a magazine you have not explicitly subscribed for, catalogs of various products and services, flyers, loan and insurance offers you have not applied for, etc.
From time to time, you might eventually stumble upon a junk mail that you’ll find helpful. But, according to statistics and various studies, most of the junk mail (95%!) ends up thrown away immediately, failing to lead to any response or action.
Logically, this provokes a question: Why do all the mailers keep on creating, printing, and sending this junk mail when it’s so ineffective? The truth is that the 5% response rate is, in this case, still considered a great success. For comparison, standard email marketing boasts a response rate of only about 0.10-0.15%.
Junk Mail: Pros vs. Cons
If you want to understand why you’re receiving so much junk mail, you might find this comparison of pros (on the side of the sender) and cons (as viewed by the recipients) of this marketing method interesting:
- Personalized contact that directly engages the recipient
- No opt-in or GDPR requirements to comply with
- One mail reaches everyone living in the same household
- If the mail is not thrown away immediately, it can stay on display around the house for several days or even weeks
- Although it comes with some costs, it’s still one of the cheaper advertisement methods
- More effective than many other marketing methods (including e-junk mail)
- Advertisements, flyers, and catalogs piling up in your mailbox can become very annoying.
- The unsolicited offers can look a bit suspicious, considering they operate with personal data acquired from third parties without the recipient’s explicit consent.
- This marketing method has a substantial environmental impact (paper, print, delivery, etc.)
- It can contribute to the loss of your ‘real’ email (the one you expect to arrive) – people sometimes throw out the bundles of junk mail with some standard mail mixed in unintentionally.
How to stop junk mail – and is it even possible?
The experts estimate that most of us receive approximately 18 pieces of junk mail for every single piece of ordinary (valid) mail. Essentially, this means that our mailboxes have gradually turned into dustbins for thousands of unwanted advertisements, catalogs, and flyers.
If you’re ready to opt out of this irritating practice, you’re surely not alone. Thousands of Americans search for proactive solutions to this issue. There are also numerous non-profit organizations and private companies offering valuable tools that can make these efforts more efficient.
So, the good news is that most of the junk mail you’re currently receiving CAN eventually be stopped. The bad news is that there is no single universal method for how to do it. That means that you’ll most likely have to use several different channels to get rid of (at least most of your) junk mail.
Nevertheless, as we’ll describe in detail below, most of these methods are pretty straightforward, and they shouldn’t steal more than a couple of minutes of your precious time.
4 fast and effective tricks that will finally help you stop junk mail
If this is not the first article you’re reading on this topic, you probably already know that there are tons of ‘100% verified’ tips, tricks, and services promising to stop the constant influx of junk mail all over the internet. Nevertheless, the truth is that none of them is perfect – and most of them are probably not even mediocre.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, since direct mail comes from thousands of different sources, there is also, logically, no universal way to cut them off all at once and completely. Nevertheless, the four options we’re sharing with you in this article are most likely your best shots. What they have in common, and why do we recommend trying them over the others?
- They are very convenient. No lengthy correspondence, no personal contact, and back and forth communication. Everything can be managed directly online.
- They are extremely fast – it only takes a couple of minutes to submit your opt-out requests.
- They are free – or at least very affordable. Two out of four tricks we share with you in this article won’t cost you a single dollar. The third comes with a symbolic verification fee, and the fourth (and probably the best) option will cost you comparably to two cups of coffee.
- They are really working! Yes, all four options you’ll find in this article are working, although each of them has its limits. Your best chance is to combine them all for maximal effect.
Now let’s focus on each of these tricks in detail.
Trick no. 1: PaperKarma (our top recommendation)
Our preferred option is PaperKarma – an innovative smartphone app designed to help you stop junk mail faster and easier than ever before. This application was developed by IT professionals, mainly to help people reduce the vast amount of unsolicited mail.
Its database of direct mailers is currently one of the biggest in the whole country, containing more than 100,000 direct mailers and marketers, including senders of catalogs, donation requests, credit cards, and insurance offers, etc.
The best thing about this app is its innovative approach to locating the sender, which engages your smartphone’s camera. It kind of makes the whole procedure fun and enjoyable, which are feelings you probably wouldn’t normally associate with getting rid of junk mail.
Moreover, this service is growing every day by incorporating more and more mailers in its database directly at the request of its users. Here’s how it works:
How to use PaperKarma to stop junk mail:
- Download the PaperKarma app to your smartphone.
- Sign up and create your user account.
- Hold the piece of junk mail you don’t want to receive any more in front of your camera. Take a picture of the sender’s logo.
- If the app finds the sender in its database, you can send your opt-out request right away.
- Say goodbye to your junk mail.
What else you should know about PaperKarma:
PaperKarma is our most recommended tip for anyone who wants to stop junk mail effectively. Why? Simply because it can do most of the following platforms can plus much, much more.
If you want to get rid of as much junk mail as possible without any delays, you can probably even start right here – and see if you’ll need anything else later on. PaperKarma claims to be able to resolve 90% of all the requests they receive.
The only downside we can really think of is that this service is paid. Nevertheless, it comes with a free trial period, and the monthly fee itself is only $3.99, with the possibility to cancel your membership pretty much anytime. Moreover, the company claims to refund you if you’re not entirely satisfied with the results, which means that you’re not risking anything.
Trick no. 2: OptOutPrescreen.com
Some of the most common (and arguably also the most annoying) direct mails arrive from various insurance companies, loan brokers, banks, and credit report agencies. They usually contain some sort of prescreened and preapproved offers, which can look attractive from time to time, but most of the time, they just occupy your postbox without any real added value and purpose.
How do these companies find you in the first place? Well, the truth is straightforward – if you’ve ever dealt with any similar institutions (and it is very difficult not to), your credit score and history can be shared among the others thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That means that you might be screened and evaluated as a potential client of companies you have probably never even heard of.
Although you cannot stop these companies from accessing your data, you can opt out of receiving their firm offers. The best channel that facilitates this service is called OptOutPrescreen.com – an official joint project of the four biggest credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion), and this is how you use it:
How to use OptOutPrescreen.com to stop junk mail:
- Open OptOutPrescreen.com.
- Submit an opt-out request containing your name and address (all remaining fields in the form are optional).
- Wait for the request to come in force – this can take up to 3 months.
- Enjoy receiving significantly less junk mail.
What else you should know about OptOutPrescreen.com:
How long is this opt-out going to stay in force? Officially, you should be spared from receiving this particular form of junk mail for at least 5 consecutive years. Would you prefer to complete this procedure offline? OptOutPrescreen can also be contacted via telephone at 1-888-567-8688 (888-5OPT-OUT).
If you’re wondering how much will this service cost you, rest assured that it’s completely free. The whole procedure is also very fast and straightforward – you shouldn’t spend more than a couple of minutes on it.
Trick no. 3: DMAchoice
While the firm offers from credit card providers and insurance companies can indeed be annoying, nothing beats all those catalogs, flyers, advertisements, pricelists, and commercial magazines piling up in your mailbox only to be thrown right away into the dustbin. Where are they all coming from, and how can you stop them?
Unlike official financial institutions we’ve discussed earlier, private commercial businesses and retailers are not associated with a single large organization. This makes it much harder for you to target them when trying to submit your opt-out request. Nevertheless, some of the associations (such as the Association of National Advertisers – ANA) connect thousands of direct mailers, making it relatively easy to address them all at once.
ANA connects all types of corporations, businesses, non-profits, and charities, and one of the rules they apply is an ethical approach towards the consumers and their rights and wishes. What does it mean in practice? If you submit your opt-out request at their official opt-out channel DMAchoice.org, all the ANA members will be obliged to respect it. Here’s how you get it done:
How to use DMAchoice.org to stop junk mail:
- Open DMAchoice.org.
- Choose the type of opt-out you want to submit (eMail Preference Service, Telephone Preference Service, Deceased Do Not Contact list, Do Not Contact list for Caregivers)
- Submit an opt-out request of your choice.
- Wait for the request to come in force – this can take 1 to 3 months.
- Get ready to receive much less junk mail.
What else you should know about DMAchoice.org:
ANA currently associates hundreds of retailers, producers, businesses, and institutions of all types. Nevertheless, there are still thousands of direct mailers out there who are not incorporated in this association, which also means that your opt-out request submitted to ANA will not affect them anyhow. Nevertheless, DMAchoice is still a very effective tool that’s worth trying.
How much is this service going to cost you? The only expense associated with this service is a one-time verification fee of $2.00. The whole procedure can be completed in less than 5 minutes, and your request will stay effective for 10 years.
Trick no. 4: CatalogChoice
Apparently, if the mailers you’re trying to target are members of some of the official associations, the whole process is relatively easy. But how to get rid of the junk mail from the remaining senders? Thankfully, besides the official organizations, there are also numerous independent platforms and companies that can sometimes help you with this issue even more effectively.
One of such alternative options is CatalogChoice – a non-profit online database comprising more than 10,000 direct mailers from all over the U.S. Most of them are catalog and magazine senders who can spam your mailbox regularly as part of their standard business routine. The whole project is part of the Story of Stuff platform, which focuses on various solutions to reducing our society’s ever-growing consumption and materialism.
Whether your reasons for fighting junk mail are environmental or not, you are welcome to take advantage of the CatalogChoice database and send your opt-out requests directly through the website. It’s free, fast, and effortless:
How to use CatalogChoice.org to stop junk mail:
- Open CatalogChoice.org.
- Sign up (don’t worry, it’s free).
- Find the mailers you’re getting your junk mail from in the database.
- Submit an opt-out request for each of them.
- Your request should come in force no later than in 3 months.
- Celebrate that you’re going to be spared from tons of junk mail.
What else you should know about CatalogChoice.org:
CatalogChoice might not be the largest database of its kind on the internet, so, probably, it won’t solve all your junk mail-related issues. Nevertheless, we find this solution so convenient and straightforward that there’s no reason not to try it.
Besides opt-outing yourself, this platform also allows you to opt-out your deceased relative or previous owner/tenant of your current household. The procedure is very fast, it usually doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Although the service is 100% free, donations are kindly appreciated.
How to Stop Junk Mail: Frequently Asked Questions
Is direct junk mail still effective in 2021?
Given how digital our lives have recently become, it comes as a surprise to see how much money and effort is still being invested in so-called junk mail. Nevertheless, statistics show that this is still one of the most effective promotional methods on the market, boasting an approximately 5% response rate. Moreover, up to 90% of junk mail gets at least opened, compared to just some 20% of marketing emails.
How do I deal with junk mail?
If you want to stop junk mail, your best chance is to submit your opt-out request to some of the dedicated associations and non-profit organizations. Alternatively, you can try a paid platform such as PaperKarma which can help you deal with the situation even faster and more effectively.
Can you sue for junk mail?
If you believe that you were harmed by any of the unsolicited mail, you are not allowed to file a private lawsuit, but you still can rely on the Federal Trade Commission or state attorneys that can sue the mailer on your behalf and try to recover any possible damages.
More and more people all over the world start recognizing junk mail as a problem. The practice completely contradicts principles of sustainability, while it also compromises our privacy and personal data safety. In the end, it mostly doesn’t even work – so why should you still receive it?
If you’re ready to stop direct mail from arriving in your postbox, we hope that you find this article useful. Now you know that getting rid of your junk mail can be very fast and straightforward, and with innovative platforms such as PaperKarma, it can also be fun.