3 Ways to Ban Spam and Stop Junk


I work at home, often under high pressure, so I'm not fond of interuptions. And yet they come constantly: spam emails that bury ones I need to see, stupid junk mail I have to sort through, people knocking at my door trying to sell me everything from steak to magazines and phone calls from people trying to sell me something.  I'm mad as hell and not going to take it any more! How about you? 

On the phone front, we finally acheived a partial victory in September when the Federal Trade Commission finally passed a ban on “Robo-calls.” Telemarketers can be fined up to $16,000 for some of these exceedinly irritating solicitations. But not all robo-calls are banned. You can still get them from politicians, some non-profits and various others.

But there are steps you can take to at least curtail live telemarketers on the phone, spam in your email box and junk in your mailbox. 

Junk "snail mail"

To stop junk “snail mail” for redit or insurance, you either go to optoutprescreen.com, or call 888-5OPTOUT. That doesn’t stop all junk: mainly just credit card solicitations. (And the economy has already stopped a lot of those.) But it will help.

Spam email

When it comes to email, sign up for a personal account to share with people you trust and a private account to use online when you shop or post. Then don’t ever give out the private one. Ever.


What about unsolicited phone calls? Your defense here is the “do-not-call list.” Put your name on it by going to donotcall.gov or calling 888-382-1222. And if someone does call you after your name is on that list, report them to the BBB or FTC.

Also: once a year you’re going to get mail from lenders and other companies you do business with, asking if it’s ok for them to share your personal information with other companies. Don’t throw these away unread: return them and to quote Nancy Reagan: “just say no.”

As for people on the porch? Next time I'm at the hardware store, I'm investing in a "No Soliciting" sign. Pity the idiot who ignores it.

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Guest's picture

You might want to get a couple signs - one to post near the street and one for your door. I work in a small office, and was constantly interrupted by sales people. I posted a "no soliciting" sign in the front window. I watched these people walk by it, look at and read it, and come on in anyway! So I added a second sign facing the parking lot, and changed the sign to include the definition (and pronunciation and etymology) of "solicit." This has significantly reduced the number of solicitors, but has by no means eliminated them. good luck!

Guest's picture

Quite a few years ago, my late husband went to a sign shop & had a magnetized one made up that went on our metal security door out front. It says: "No matter what you are selling, including your religion, go away!" It wasn't because we were getting a lot of sales people, either. Has worked like a charm.

Guest's picture

i actually like spam e mails because of the occasional e mail from a distressed nigerian prince asking for help in moving millions of dollars around. Sometimes it is an investment banker asking for help in defrauding the bank he works for. While i have never fallen for such, it always amazes me how stupid people think that other people are. What is even more disconcerting is that there are naive(tried very hard not to type unbelievably stupid) people that fall for this tricks

Guest's picture

One thing you also might consider to reduce/eliminate telemarketers is to dump your home phone. If you have a cell phone, you probably don't even need a landline.

As far as I can tell, telemarketers have not yet been able to infiltrate cell phone numbers.

Once we dumped our home phone and got MagicJack, we virtually have no telemarketers in our lives whatsoever.

Guest's picture

I started on a no mail project about a year ago - I travel for work and spending 3 hours going through mail after however many hours trying to get home was unhealthy. I found that you have to call every single catalog, etc. My routine now is to get the mail, make 1-2 calls requesting to be removed, repeat daily. It has worked very well but it isn't permanent, some of them have gotten me from other lists. My tips are 1-) NEVER have anything sent to your home address. Pay for a box, then you can stand there and throw it all out before you ever get back in your car 2-) be very judicious about ordering online or from catalogs. Make sure they have a very public and proven commitment not to sell your info like Amazon has 3-) don't give out your address or phone, or any other information robotically upon request. Honestly, why does your hair salon need your address? Why does your doctor need your social security number? 3-) don't order pizzas delivered. Go get them. You won't be sorry. We tried a test name on a hunch and found that one pizza generated about 10 unsolicited mailings for everything from gym memberships to carpet cleaning

Nora Dunn's picture

These are some great tips, and I appreciate Joan's preemptive system (above) for keeping junk mail to a minimum.

Here are a few other Wise Bread resources chock full of ideas on the topic: