Too much junk mail? Here’s how to stop it—and protect your identity

I’ll admit it.

I’m an obsessive shredder.

Being a consumer reporter will do that to you.

But even if you shred, mail can still be stolen out of your mailbox before you can get to it and feed it to the shredder.

Sound crazy and unlikely to happen?

Kennebunkport police are investigating a “well-run scheme” where they suspect two guys were stealing pre-approved credit card offers out of mailboxes, applying for the card and then going back days later to steal it.

“It seems they have a good sense of how long it takes to process these items and they’re just going back to the same places,” said Kennebunkport Deputy Police Chief Kurt Moses.

Even if your mail isn’t being stolen out of your mailbox, it’s a pain to get all that stuff you don’t want.

So here’s what you can do about it:

  1. Opt out of prescreened offers for new credit cards and insurance. You can opt out for five years or opt out permanently.
    • 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688)
    • Go to
      *Fine print: if you want to opt out permanently, you can start the process online, but you’ll need to mail in a form after you start your online request.
  2. Register with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). This will let you decide what kind of mail you want (and don’t want) — credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other mail offers.
    • DMAChoice
      PO Box 900
      Cos Cob, CT 06807
      *Fine print: A request online will will cost a processing fee of $2 for 10 years. A mail-in registration will be $3.
Jon Chrisos

About Jon Chrisos

Award-winning journalist Jon Chrisos is the investigative and consumer reporter at CBS 13 in Portland. He also anchors weeknights at 5:30. Chrisos is “On Your Side” investigating the stories that make a difference in your life. He’s passionate about helping those who’ve been wronged, exposing government waste, asking tough questions, and uncovering the truth.