NYT today provided a master opt list to get your name away from all those pesky solicitors. Here are the highlights:
PHONE SOLICITATIONS To stop them, go to donotcall.gov. Or call toll free, (888)382-1222, from the number you are going to restrict. (home and cell phones; you need to register every five years).
JUNK MAIL Host by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). Not a guarantee but maybe a help. Online form – www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html or mailing address – Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, N.Y. 10512. There is an online form at If you want to get more mail, there is also a place to sign up to get on the lists.
E-MAIL. No real good solution. You can try to make it harder for spammers to get your address in the first place by never posting your address in public forums. Spammers employ software to scrape the sites of anything with that @ symbol. Instead spell it out in a unique way like “the nameofthiscolumn at nytimes.com.”
CREDIT CARD OFFERS. Call (888) 567-8688, but be ready to give out some personal information like your Social Security number. Als0 www.optoutprescreen.com. You can do it for a period of five years or permanently.
OTHER OPT-OUTS Your personal information is accessible in less obvious ways. For instance, your computer tracks where you have visited online. DoubleClick, a company that collects data for online advertisers, offers a way to prevent your computer from giving it information at http://www.doubleclick.com/us/about-doubleclick/privacy/dart-adserving.asp.
But again, it is only a piecemeal solution. Other online advertising companies will still put “cookies” on your computer to collect the same data. So the next-best solution is to frequently run software that cleans out cookies. You can get Spyware Blaster, Spybot, or Ad-Aware at www.download.com free.
Your personal information, including parts of your Social security number, are available in publicly available data bases that you may never see. The most common ones offer a way to opt out of a listing. Nexis, one of the biggest, says you can opt out of its people-finding lists by going to www.lexisnexis.com/terms/privacy/data/remove.asp. Nexis does not make it easy because it requires that you prove you are a victim of identity theft before it will consider your application.
The Center for Democracy and Technology provides addresses and forms for other companies, like ChoicePoint, that do not let you opt out online (http://opt-out.cdt.org).