Unwanted phone, email and regular mail solicitations have become a big concern for consumers in recent years. According to data from the Chief Marketing Officer Council Worldwide, consumers receive upwards of 5 billion pieces of direct mail annually.1 The volume of emails being sent is also increasing with the number of people receiving 20 or more emails a week from marketers jumping from 50% in 2011 to 55% in 2012.2
Excessive marketing offers can pose a unique challenge for some seniors, especially those with cognitive impairment who may have trouble discerning between legitimate business and phony offers. By taking the action steps below, you can help cut down the volume of solicitations targeted at you or someone you care for.
Mute phone solicitations
The federal government's National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive at home. Visit donotcall.gov to register your phone number or call 888 382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number.
Put the squeeze on email offers
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has an Email Preference Service (eMPS) to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails. To opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from members of the Direct Marketing Association, visit dmachoice.org. Registration is free and good for six years. You will continue to receive emails from companies you already do business with. As an additional measure, click the 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom of unwanted emails that make their way into your inbox or junk folder.
Thin out junk mail
The DMA Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. Registering with this service will reduce most of your unsolicited mail; however, it will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA's Mail Preference Service.
A special website, optoutprescreen.com, has been created by the four major consumer reporting companies to address the issue of credit and insurance offers. Here you can opt out of mail solicitations for pre-approved loans or insurance policies. If you prefer to make the request by phone, you can call 888 567-8688 toll-free.
If you or a loved one is overwhelmed with the volume of marketing offers you get, consider taking the steps above to help cut some of the clutter and confusion out of your life. By doing so, you will cut down on clutter and potentially reduce the risk of falling prey to schemes.
1Source: Federal Trade Commission website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email
2CMO Council http://www.cmocouncil.org/facts-stats-categories.php?category=direct-marketing
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