Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Junk It

How to Cut Junk Mail and Phone Calls Down to Size
Older Adults are juicy targets for marketers. Most marketing offers you get by mail are legitimate and are just “junk” to you. It seems that more and more of the unsolicited phone calls seniors receive are outright fraudulent. 
You can get rid of a lot of the junk mail and phone calls you receive by acting as described in this article. But fraudulent solicitations, especially phone calls and e-mails, will probably keep coming Don’t be polite when solicited by phone. Just say no and hang up.
Here is how to reduce the volume of unsolicited offers you receive.
Credit Card Offers
"You're Pre-approved!" Lucky you.
Do you get unsolicited credit card offers? Are you sick of having to put those offers through a shredder due to fear that an identify thief could take out credit in your name? What can you do to stop getting them?  
Actually, you can put a stop to them. The major credit reporting companies sell your information to the credit card issuers who then send you their pre-screened offers. But the reporting companies also allow you to remove yourself from receiving such offers.
To opt out for a period of five years you can call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com  The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer credit  reporting companies.
You will need to provide personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. But the information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out.
You also have the ability to opt our permanently but it takes more work. To remove yourself permanently from pre-screened credit card offers, visit the website www.optoutprescreen.com and follow the instructions.
Removing your name from pre-screened offers will not have any effect on your credit score or your ability to apply for or obtain credit in the future.
Do Not Call Lists Limit Unwanted Tele-Marketing Calls
Both the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintain
"do-not-call” lists that allow consumers to limit unwanted telemarketing sales calls. Note that these do-not-call registries prohibit sales calls, But you still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, information calls and surveys. 
Registrations are free and permanent with no need to renew.   
The following information is provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate
1. National Do Not Call Registry
Most telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register your home and mobile phone numbers for free. You can register for the federal no call registry online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222.
2. Pennsylvania Do Not Call List
You can register for the Pennsylvania Do Not Call List by calling 1-888-777-3406 or visiting https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/Consumers/Do_Not_Call_List/ to fill out an enrollment form. The PA Office of Attorney General has contracted with a nonprofit organization that is responsible for maintaining a list of consumers who want to avoid telemarketing calls. The list administrator is responsible for updating the list and providing that list to telemarketers on a quarterly basis. Every telemarketer that calls consumers in Pennsylvania is required to purchase the list from the list administrator. The telemarketer must then remove every name on the "Do Not Call" list from their calling lists within 30 days. A violation of the law carries a civil penalty of up to $1,000, or $3,000 if the person contacted is age 60 or older.
Since the Pennsylvania do-not-call registry law has separate procedures and includes a separate civil penalty, it may make sense for older adults to register on both the federal and Pennsylvania lists. Both are free.
Catalogs and Emails
Older Adults can get several thick catalogs in a day’s mail. These can be heavy and quickly fill up the trash. Maybe you enjoy looking through catalogs. But if you want to get fewer of them you can.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) allows consumers to limit the number of catalogs they receive. You can include email solicitations and utilize a telephone preference service if you reside in Pennsylvania or Wyoming. The DMA service is not free, but it only costs $2. Visit the website here for further information.
In general, I never click on any kind of email solicitation. Just clicking a link can expose your computer and you to serious risks. I agree with the advice given on the PACE University website as follows:
Protect yourself
i.               Ignore/delete unsolicited emails and do not click on any attachments, links, and forms in them, especially when sent by unknown senders.  If you know the sender, but have any doubt, verify separately with them whether they sent the email in question and whether it is safe to click the link, attachment, or form.  For emails that ask you to click a link to go to the “company’s Website” to log in and/or confirm information, open up a separate browser window instead and type the legitimate Website address yourself.  Check on the Website for any announcements about phishing attacks.  In some cases, you may need to call the customer service number or a company directly to verify the validity of the suspicious email. . . . 

Do not provide your personal information via email.  Reputable companies, including Pace University, will never ask for your personal information via email.  Lastly, don’t visit untrustworthy Websites or download unevaluated freeware or shareware.

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