We live in a time when marketing is so pervasive that it is not unusual to have more junk mail than legitimate mail in our mailboxes and inboxes. Some would argue that it is a wonderful blessing for consumers to be made aware of all the products and services that they may need. Others might disagree.
Regardless of where you may stand on the issue, everyone agrees that it can be annoying to get lots of junk mail. Fortunately, there are some methods, applications, and services available to consumers that don’t want to be inundated with solicitations. In fact, spam makes up over 14 billion emails per day, more than 70% of which is created for identity theft. So the need to avoid it and delete it from our lives is more important than ever.
Avoiding and Reducing SPAM
Check suspicious emails carefully
You can usually spot SPAM before opening it if you are paying attention. The first thing to check is the sender’s name. Secondly, check to see what time the email was sent. Interestingly, most SPAM is delivered between 12am and 4am.
Another indicator is file size. Most advertisements are at least 3 KB. If one is still not sure after checking these things, one can open the message. If it does seem to be SPAM, do not click on any links! To be safe, I don’t even open emails from anyone I don’t know, especially if the title appears “too-good-to-be-true".
Avoid posting on forums
One of the ways that marketers gather email addresses is from forums. One precaution that will limit SPAM is to not post email addresses on forums. Additionally, there are many spam blocking tools that can be downloaded such as Spamgourmet.
Those using Microsoft Outlook can use spam filtering plug-ins that are available. Most email programs enable the user to limit the incoming emails to the ones in the address book.
Requesting to be taken off the list
Obviously, calling a company that uses direct mail advertising and requesting to be taken from their mailing list is one of the methods for reducing junk mail. Of course that is very time-consuming to call each advertiser that shows up in the mailbox and it still doesn’t totally solve the problems.
One of the challenges in stopping junk mail is that the postal department offers a service to marketers called “Every Door Direct Mail.” This service enables a business to send mail to every single address in a specified neighborhood, even though they don’t know your address.
Use Your Tablet or Computer to Opt Out
There are now several online services that help to help people in unsubscribing or opting out of getting postal junk mail. One of them is called Catalog Choice, and it is my favorite. This is a free service that enables people to search a database of catalogue marketers and remove your name from any of their listings.
Zumbox is a service that helps businesses and consumers to convert physical mail into email. Consumers that sign up can have the participating businesses send their advertisement digitally instead of physically.
The great thing with these services is that you don’t need to make any phone calls or jump through a bunch of hoops. Anyone with a laptop, tablet pc, or whatever other gadget we all have these days is all we need to protect ourselves.
Use Your iPhone to Block Mail
Lifelock is a paid service that charges $10 per month. They automatically remove a person’s contact information from all the lists they don’t want to be on. The service also provides different levels of identity protection.
PaperKarma is a Smartphone app that helps cut paper mail that is unwanted. One simply uses their smart phone app to take a picture of the unwanted junk mail and PaperKarma contacts the advertiser and has your name deleted from the mailing list.
By taking advantage of these options, one can greatly reduce the amount of unwanted mail in the mailbox and inbox.
How do you deal with junk mail?
Paul Mansour is enthusiastic about start-ups along with consumer and small business technology. Working within Dell.com, he needs to stay up-to-date on the latest products and solutions and best-in-class e-commerce strategies. In his spare time he can’t resist taking apart his latest gadget and forgetting how to put it back together.