Is there any proven way to diminish the amount of junk mail I receive?

I’m putting this here because I’m looking for a factual answer, not anecdotes.

When I moved from California to a new house in Montana 13 years ago I got zero junk mail for the first 3-4 weeks. Then, as I had expected, they found me, and junk started coming in. A few pieces a week at first, slowly building up to 2-3 pieces a day. Thinking there was nothing I could do I just threw it out, day, after day, after day. Two years ago I moved to a “new for me” house about 10 miles away, and once again I got no junk mail for about 3 weeks. Then they found me again, and slowly but surely the junk mail came.

In some ways, it’s worse now than it’s ever been. For example, I get at least 3 Spectrum solicitations a week to add TV to my internet, each sneakier than the last. That’s 12 pieces of junk mail from one company each month for almost 2 years. It never stops.

I asked my mail carrier what, if anything, I could do to reduce the amount of junk mail I get and she said that I should be thankful since those companies that ship thousands of bulk mail pieces each week are why my 1st class postage is only 50 cents! I told her I would gladly pay higher postage if it meant less or no junk mail. The only other thing she said I could do is to mark the junk mail REFUSED and/or RETURN TO SENDER and put it in the outgoing mail slot. I asked if this really did anything and she smiled, turned, and walked away without answering. I started doing the Refused/Return to Sender on my junk mail and sticking it in the outgoing mail slot, but to no one’s surprise, it didn’t seem to do anything. Should I give it a few months are am I just kidding myself?

Are there any other proven ways to reduce junk mail from credit card companies, travel companies, satellite TV companies, and all the other companies who feel the need to send me a solicitation every week? I’m afraid if I contact them directly to ask them to stop it will only make matters worse.

I don’t have an answer, but I’m looking for one too.

I’ve had great success with Catalog Choice. I haven’t logged in in a long time because I wasn’t getting much spam mail since I first signed up.

I should probably run through it again. I got a CitiBank card and MAN are they oppressive with offers. Good lord. Like 5x a week.

You make it sound like it’s some brilliant detective work. Instead:

Whenever you fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service, the USPS adds your new details into a database of 160 million previous address changes over the past four years. The USPS has deals with data brokers to sell this data to anyone who pays, provided they have your old address.

There are several websites who provide useful information, for example:

Yes. Register at For $2.00 you’ll be added to the opt-out list that thousands of reputable direct mail advertisers (DMAs) use to remove people from their lists who don’t want to receive junk mail. The fee covers you for ten years.

The same site also lets you sign up for an e-mail opt-out list.

Assuming you live in the US, the other major thing you can do is to NOT give the USPS a Change of Address card when you move. The main function of that card is to give your new address to advertisers. USPS can only sell it to companies who already have your old address, but that’s plenty. Cite.

How to avoid this?

There is, however, a loophole that keeps data brokers from accessing your updated address. When you fill out the online form to change an address, you can indicate a temporary change that provides six months of forwarding that can then be extended for another six months. That information, unlike the changes marked as permanent, is not included in the master list sold to data brokers.

Why would you think this, and what do you think they might do? Reputable companies don’t want to piss off existing, former, or potential customers, and they don’t want to spend money sending catalogs and other mail to people who don’t want it.

So yes, go to the websites of companies who are sending you junk mail, find the Customer Service page, and tell them to stop sending you mail. It will work most of the time.

I have my home phone (landline) service, and our mobile phones, through AT&T, but my cable TV and internet through Comcast; it has been this way for 25 years. Regardless, through that entire time, AT&T has been relentless in trying to get me to get internet and TV from them over the years: constant junk mail in the mailbox, emails, phone calls, even a sales rep coming to the front door a few times a year.

I finally had enough last winter – I spent a half-hour navigating AT&T’s customer service lines, and getting kicked up levels, until I got a guy who promised to take me off of all of those marketing lists. He said it would take a couple of months, and he was right, but it has finally tapered off. I would suggest doing the same with Spectrum, though it may take some persistence to get to the right person.

You also mentioned credit card offers – you can opt out of those using this website:

Thanks, kenobi_65. I’ll try that one.

More than any other type, I’m the recipient of a barrage of mailings offering to buy my ( thoroughly modest, average ) house. Post cards, fancier post cards with photos of my house, plastic windowed junk letters with the same. The latter two kind of creep me out as though I’m being stalked somehow. Realtors or property companies seem to have gone all-in on their carpet bombing campaign to buy every house they can get their grubby mitts on.

I get those too. My house is in a desirable neighborhood and I’ve been told by a few realtors that I can get double what I paid for it 2 years ago… of course, any house I bought would have also gone up dramatically so It doesn’t really help. Plus, I’m happy where I’m at and have no intention of moving anywhere for a long, long, time.

I thought it might be like phone scams. If you don’t ever answer their calls eventually they give up, but if you answer even once, they know they have a “live one” and will continue calling forever. If I call one of these “legit” companies and complain they may stop sending me their junk mail, but they may also sell my name and address to 100 other companies since they now know it goes to a real person. Yes, I think many companies marketing departments are that evil.

Postal addresses are quite different from e-mail addresses and phone numbers because postal addresses are fixed, verifiable, and a matter of public record, even if the names associated with them change. Anyone who wants to send mail to a certain address can do it. Furthermore, sending physical mail to a postal address is significantly more expensive than making phone calls or sending e-mail, which is essentially free.

This means that the companies that take the trouble to send physical mail are, for the most part, more substantial and reputable than those that send e-mail spam or do telemarketing. That’s not to say that there aren’t disreputable DMAs who might do the kind of thing you suggest, or conversely, that there aren’t reputable telemarketers and e-mail marketers who will honor unsubcribe requests.

But although I don’t have any cites to back me up, ISTM that the nature of direct mail marketing means that you have far less to fear from DMAs WRT mischief than from e-mail marketers and telemarketers.