Make calls to stop junk mail, telemarketers

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COLUMBUS – A mailbox full of credit offers, telemarketing calls and e-mail advertisements by the dozens – Ohio Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery says there are ways to cut down on the number of these unsolicited contacts.

“We live in a very connected society,” she said. “There are so many different ways to communicate and share ideas, but that also means there are more ways to be solicited with legitimate and illegal offers.”

Protection tips. As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Montgomery offered the following tips.

* Reduce unsolicited mail. Consumers can call 1-888-5-OPTOUT for more information or to “opt-out” of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for two years.

Consumers can also get their names deleted for five years from many direct mail lists by writing the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY, 11735-9008.

Also, contact the three major credit bureaus to inform them that you do not want personal information about you shared for promotional purposes. Write to them at: Trans Union Marketing List Opt Out, P.O. Box 97328 Jackson, MS 39288-7328; Equifax Options, P.O. Box 740123 Atlanta, GA 30374-0123; and Experian Consumer Opt Out, 701 Experian Parkway, Allen TX 75013,

* Reduce telemarketing calls. There are federal laws that contain restrictions for telemarketing calls to be made from the hours of 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Telemarketers are also required to maintain “Do Not Call” lists of people who request not to be called. The Direct Marketing Association’s Telephone Preference Service allows you to reduce the amount of telemarketing calls you receive from many national companies for five years. Write to: Direct Marketing Association, Telephone Preference Service, P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale NY 11735-9014.

* Reduce e-mails. Although there is no federal or state law against unsolicited e-mails, the Direct Marketing Association has started a new e-mail Preference Service to opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail for one year. An online form is available at www.dmaconsumerhelp.org.

* Reduce unsolicited faxes. Ohio law forbids transmission of advertisements to fax machines unless the sender has received prior permission of the owner or has previous existing business relationship. Notify sender of this law, or contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for assistance.

For more information, consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at 1-800-282-0515 or visit www.ag.state.oh.us.

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