Opting out of junk mail really does work – keep trying

Whenever I look at the statistics for the blog I see  – always – the Number One search is something like “how to get rid of those pre-screened credit offers” or “how to get rid of  junk mail,” etc.  Lately Geico opt-out information seems to be the most searched.

Well here’s what worked for me – for Geico mailings anyway:

http://optout.geico.com/marketing/

When I was a young housewife with two tiny kids, it used to drive me crazy the amount of time I spent trying to figure out how to get rid of junk mail. Our mailbox was routinely stuffed full to the point of choking. In those days, before the internet and online shopping became so comfortable, there were offers by mail, for everything from children’s book clubs to vitamins – anybody remember catalogs? 

Yes I bit on some of them – we bought Christmas cards from the National Wildlife Foundation, books from Scholastic, and gave small amounts of money to various charities. 

But most of it was just garbage, and then there were the credit offers. In those days credit offers that fell into the wrong hands could be used to fraud the recipient, or so we were told, and it made me ultra paranoid to just  throw those in the trash. We were told by law enforcement agencies that creeps would actually go through your trash to get those, that they should be completely destroyed. So, no  kidding – I was spending at least 15 minutes a day tearing stuff up, putting it in our composter, burning it in our chimenea, whatever I could think of. 

My mom gave me a cheap shredder, and then it became sport! It was really fun, running crap through my little shredder. I still put it in the compost or burned it, but it was a lot easier than tearing it with my hands.

As I recall, Chase Bank was the biggest offender, and I still find searches specifically looking for Chase Bank opt out info.  Searching online for their opt-out, I find the link I had used before is no longer good.  I also found many complaints from people – the main complaint is identical mailings, coming as often as twice a week. I found this interesting page on the Chase website, where they admit people can steal your “identity” through “dumpster diving.”

https://www.chase.com/digital/resources/privacy-security/questions/identity-theft

But I couldn’t find any link to opt-out of unwanted ad mailings. Frankly I don’t get these anymore – I actually printed out a letter from their website, signed, and mailed it, and they sent me a letter saying I would not receive mailings for five years.  And get a load of this – five years later, they sent me another letter, which I filled out and signed, and that opted me out for another five years. Every now and then we get a postcard addressed to our post office box – “occupant” – but it’s just an ad, not an application for credit with our name and other personal information on it, like we used to get. 

So, if you want these out of your box, write a letter stating you no longer want to receive any mailings from Chase – cc our local postmaster,  Talisyn Hodson – whether you actually send her a copy or not – and mail it to the address on the mailing you received.

If there is no return address on a mailing, please take it to the post office and ask to speak to Hodson about it. The law says these mailings have to have a return address. 

No kidding, I sent letters like that, I made phone calls, I complained to then-postmaster Greg Smith. And it worked. You have to be dogged about it, but guess what – there’s days at a time now, I don’t get anything in my mail box. 

Most of the junk I get now comes from my bank and other entities I deal with. I still treat them like poison, ripping them to shreds and stuffing them into my stove or my composter, but it’s not a daily activity that requires paranoid scrutiny. Opting out does work.

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