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How to Help Put a Stop to Junk Mail and Calls

June 17, 1993|CONNIE KOENENN

Americans receive 62 billion pieces of junk mail yearly and 18 million telemarketing solicitations daily. Here is a guide to stemming the flow. The following companies, which compile and sell information about consumers, say they will remove names from their lists on request.

* Source of Junk Mail: Mailing-list companies purchase and collect information from public records, telephone books and other sources and sell it to marketers.

* The Escape: Write Direct Marketing Assn. Mail Preference Service, Box 9008, Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735, to be put in the "suppress" file. You can also write the major companies that rent or sell mailing lists to direct marketers: R.L. Polk & Co., List Compilation and Development, 6400 Monroe Blvd., Taylor, Mich. 48180-1814; Donnelley Marketing Inc., Data Base Operations, 1235 N Ave., Nevada, Iowa 50201-1419; Metromail Corp., List Maintenance, 901 W. Bond, Lincoln, Neb. 68521; Database America, Compilation Dept., 100 Paragon Drive, Montvale, N.J. 07645-0419; Dunn & Bradstreet, Customer Service., 899 Eaton Ave., Bethlehem, Pa. 18025.

* Source: Records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, Post Office change-of-address forms and property transfers are open to the public and to mailing-list compilers.

* Escape: Since government records usually can't be made confidential, you must contact each company that puts you on a mailing list compiled from public records.

* Source: Credit bureaus receive information from companies with which you do business on how much you owe, how promptly you pay your bills and the type of purchases you make. The credit bureaus in turn sell your name to marketers.

* Escape: Notify two major credit-reporting firms that you want to be removed from their marketing mailing lists: Trans Union, 555 W. Adams St., 8th Floor, Chicago, Ill. 60661; TRW, Target Marketing Services Division, Mail Preference Service, 901 N. International Parkway, Suite 191, Richardson, Tex. 75081. (A third major credit bureau, Equifax, no longer sells such information).

* Source: Warranty or product registration cards (asking about hobbies, household members, etc.) usually go to the National Demographics and Lifestyles Co., which compiles buyer profiles and sells the information to marketers.

* Escape: Disclose minimal or no information on warranty cards. Ask to be deleted from its list by writing National Demographics and Lifestyles, List Order Department, 1621 18th St., Suite 300, Denver, Colo. 80202.

* Source: Phone books and street-address directories.

* Escape: Get an unlisted number or list your phone without your address. Write to the major directory companies and request that your listing be removed: Haines & Co., Criss-Cross Directory, 2382 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, Calif. 92631; R.L. Polk & Co., List Compilation and Development, 6400 Monroe Blvd., Taylor, Mich. 48180-1814; Rueben H. Donnelley Corp., 287 Bowman Ave., Purchase, N.Y. 10577.

* Source: Checkout counter scanners may link your name and address to purchases and feed the information into databanks, especially if you use store "buyers club" cards.

* Escape: Pay cash at businesses that use scanners. If you join a buyer's club, indicate on the application form that you do not want your purchase information used by marketers.

* Source: Be aware that every time you dial 800 or 900 numbers, your number may be recorded in a database and sold to telemarketers.

* Escape: When calling 800 and 900 numbers tell the representative you don't want your number rented or sold. Also, send your name, address and telephone number (including area code) to Telephone Preference Service, Direct Marketing Assn., Box 9014, Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735, for inclusion on its "don't call" list.

* Just one more: Among the coupons and flyers distributed to "resident" or "occupant" that clog your mailbox, look for the postcard that accompanied the material. Write or call the company listed. Many come from ADVO Inc., whose postcards have pictures of missing children on them. Write ADVO Inc., List Service Supervisor, 239 W. Service Road, Hartford, Conn. 06120.

Compiled from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Other Sources of Help

* Privacy Rights Clearinghouse hot line for questions and free brochures on privacy issues: (800) 773-7748.

* Stop Junk Mail Assn., 3020 Bridgeway, 150, Sausalito, Calif. 94965; (800) 827-5549.

* "Stop Junk Mail Forever," a 16-page booklet, is available by sending $2 to Good Advice Press, P.O. Box 78, Elizaville, N.Y. 12523.

* Free brochures on direct-marketing practices may be ordered from the Direct Marketing Assn., 11 West 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10036-7748.

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