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How to Stop Junk Mail In 7 Simple Steps

June 1, 2022

Tired of offers from credit card companies, political organizations, non-profits, and catalog companies? This guide will teach you how to stop junk mail from being delivered to your home. 

Just like how you can opt out of robocalls and spam texts by adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry ( and activating built-in features within your phone’s OS, there are some simple tips you can follow to secure your personal information

Here are 7 steps anyone can take to stop junk mail being delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) – setting up a P.O. box not required.

How to Stop Junk Mail 

To stop junk mailers, you must go to the source and remove your name from marketing databases. Some of these can be handled one at a time, while others, such as the hundreds of data broker websites out there, will usually require the help of a specialist service. 

1. Opt out of consumer credit reporting databases  

Credit reporting companies (also known as credit bureaus) gather personal information on consumers from banks and public records. Companies often don’t require your explicit permission when using this data to market credit card deals and other financial products to you. This is due to the terms, conditions, and privacy policies you agreed to when opening certain financial accounts. 

If you don’t wish to receive pre-approved credit card offers and other financial services deals (like insurance offers), use is the official opt-out service provided by the big four consumer credit reporting agencies. You can opt-out via its website or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) to start the process. opt out options

Opting out means your name is removed from the lists supplied by major credit reporting companies –  Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and Transunion – to third-party companies.

You have two options for opting out:  

  1. Electronic five-year opt-out, which requires consumers to enter their name and address. For best results, the website will also ask for your social security number and birthday. However, these two details are not mandatory. Once you’ve completed and submitted the online form, it can take up to 5 days to process your opt-out request. 
  2. Mail in permanent opt-out, which requires customers to complete the same online form before printing out and posting a signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form.


While Opt Out Prescreen is effective in stopping your information from appearing in some lists, it’s not guaranteed to stop junk mail. You may still receive solicitation from sources that don’t use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies. 

The website adds that the opt-out “will not end solicitations from all local merchants, religious and charitable associations, professional and alumni associations, politicians, and companies with which you conduct business.”

To opt out of such platforms, it suggests that you go directly to each source and process an opt-out with them individually.

2. Unsubscribe through DMA Choice 

You can stop unwanted mail by using DMA Choice (at This non-profit organization is run by the Data and Marketing Association (previously Direct Marketing Association) and is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

DMA Choice offers an online tool to manage the type of direct mail you receive. Unsubscribing from mailing lists is an important part of protecting your online information.

The DMA Choice website allows consumers to remove their details from several mailing lists. Customers can also customize their preferences and select entire categories like “advertisements” or “catalogs.” This can help you stop receiving junk mail from USPS.

To sign up, go to the DMA Choice website and fill in your information, including name, email, and home address. You must pay a $2 service fee before accessing the platform, which will cover you for 10 years. 

DMA Choice website - Get started

Users can select which categories to opt out of, including Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers, and Other Mail Offers. 


Unsubscribing through DMA Choice only works for mail you receive as a “prospect,” i.e., from a company you don’t have a prior relationship with and to whom you haven’t explicitly given your data.

If you are or have been a customer of a company that is sending you junk mail (for example, your bank), you’ll still need to contact that company directly to request a mail opt-out. 

3. Opt out of Catalog Choice 

To stop unwanted mail, you can also sign up for Catalog Choice. This is another non-profit organization, run by The Story of Stuff Project, focused on stopping merchants from sending unwanted mail. 

Through this website, consumers can search a database of businesses that may have their personal information. 

To sign up for Catalog Choice, customers must enter their name and email address and agree to a confirmation email.

The process of opting out will vary between each business. In some cases, Catalog Choice can automatically process the opt-out for you. In other instances, Catalog Choice will provide customers with a link or telephone number to process the opt-out themselves. 


Catalog Choice has an extensive database of over 9,000 marketing catalogs. 

However, there are some limitations to its effectiveness. For example, Catalog Choice cannot stop catalog marketing addressed to “Current Resident.” That’s because the business is blanket mailing a particular area and does not have specific customer information on file.

There’s also no law in the United States that requires businesses to process opt-out requests. That means Catalog Choice relies on the goodwill of businesses to honor opt-outs. However, the company does record any non-compliant businesses. 

4. Unsubscribe from smaller direct marketers

Currently, no services can completely stop all unwanted junk mail. However, the three steps above are a helpful way to prevent junk mail delivery from some of the biggest mailing lists.

There are still a number of smaller but no less persistent direct marketers that you should opt out of to reduce junk mail. This includes direct marketers like Valpak and coupon company RetailMeNot.


Valpak is a large-scale marketing company that claims to send coupons to over 41 million homes. 

One of its most popular options is a blue envelope that offers recipients a chance to win money (along with plenty of advertisements).

California residents can remove themselves from these lists by completing this form on the Valpak website. Nevada residents can opt-out here. Residents from other states can request removal from the mailing list by completing this opt-out form.

Valpak mailing list removal request


RetailMeNot and its sister site, Voucher Codes, offer vouchers and discounts to US consumers via the mail.

RetailMeNot partnered with marketing company Valassis a few years ago. This means their opt-out process can be found on a third-party website. 

Follow this link and submit your email and home address to Valassis to begin the opt-out process. 

Customers are warned it might take several weeks to stop receiving spam mail.


Once processed, you should stop receiving junk mail from the above companies and their affiliates. But other companies will continue to send you this type of unwanted mail.

5. Return unwanted junk mail to the sender 

Another way to limit unwanted junk mail is to complete a “return to sender” procedure. Refusing the mail will force the USPS to return the junk mail at the sender’s expense. 

To do this, recipients should look for a return address printed on the envelope or phrases such as “forwarding service requested” or “address service requested.” Recipients should then write “Refused. Return to the sender” on the envelope and post it back in the mail. The envelope should remain unopened.  

You can’t send spam mail back if it has no address or one of the returning phrases printed on it. 


This process does not guarantee that you’ll stop receiving unsolicited mail. What’s more, if the spam mail continues, you may have to take a more direct approach and write a request to stop sending spam mail.

6. Unsubscribe from junk emails/mark them as spam 

Physical junk mail is annoying, but so is electronic junk mail. If your email account is getting flooded with spam emails, you can do two things:

  1. Open spam email and click “Unsubscribe”. You can usually find this option at the top of the email beside the sender’s email address or by scrolling down to the bottom of the email. 
Email promo unsubscribe
  1. Mark incoming unwanted emails as spam (your email provider’s spam filter should be able to catch these emails in the future and send them straight to the spam folder). 

You can also block specific emails from getting in touch with you. 


This method will only stop junk emails, not physical mail.

7. Remove your information from all data broker platforms 

Completing the above steps will reduce the amount of unwanted mail (physical and email) you receive, but it won’t stop it. Over time, your data will also gradually make its way back onto many of these lists. 

But there’s one more step you can take – opt-out from data brokers. 

Data brokers are platforms that harvest your personal data from public sources without your knowledge. They know everything about you, including your name, mailing address, contact information like your phone number and email, and details about your extended family. 

Data broker sites happily sell your data to any advertisers that want it, along with other third parties like law enforcement agencies, spammers, and cybercriminals. As a result, along with junk mail, data brokers also increase your chances of identity theft, scams, doxxing, and other personal information risks.  

There are now hundreds of data broker sites in the US, so removing your data manually from these platforms just isn’t feasible for most people. 

That’s why we launched DeleteMe, a service that removes your personal information from data broker platforms. Our service removes customer data from over 580 data brokers (full list here). We also rescan each data broker every three months to ensure customer data stays off these platforms.

Our plans start from just $10.75 per month. Click here for more details.

Will Simonds runs Senior Marketing Operations at DeleteMe, and is a steadfast privacy advocate who has a resolute dedication to online privacy solutions and helping people regain their privacy. …

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