Is Junk Mail Tracking You Down? How the US Postal Service’s Change of Address Really Works

How To Prevent Junk Mail From Following You

How To Prevent Junk Mail From Following You

Moving is one of the more stressful things we do as Americans. Thankfully, there are great professionals, like TNT Moving Systems, here in Charlotte that can take of the packing, loading, and unloading for you. But what about all the paperwork? Changing your home address with your employer, bank, creditors, and other institutions can be daunting. The easiest route would be to simply fill out a change of address form at your local post office or online. But one thing you might not know is the United States Postal Service (USPS) sells your new address information to any mailer who has your old address.

Have you ever noticed how when you move your Junk mail follows you? According to an article in Forbes Magazine, the USPS sells a license to marketing companies to obtain the list of new addresses. This is big business for the USPS. It makes about $8 million a year selling licenses to the top data brokers, like Acxiom, FICO, Merkle, and InfoUSA. These companies can then sell your new address information to direct mail marketing companies. Not only does the USPS profit from the sell of these licenses, it also saves about $1 Billion dollars with the National Change of Address (NCOA) program. “The ability to update customer address information through NCOALink has been previously estimated to save the USPS and the postal rate payer in excess of $1 billion annually,” said James Wilson, the USPS manage of address management. This is through not having to deal with what they call undeliverable-as-addressed mail.  “This amount does not include the savings to the mailing industry for wasted postage, production costs, and lost customers.”

So, what is the best way to avoid the Junk Mail? Unfortunately, there is no way to opt-out of the USPS giving your new address to junk mailers. There are people in Washington, like Bob Gellman, trying to give Americans a choice, but as of now, it seems unavoidable. One of the best ways to avoid the junk mail is to only give your new address to companies and businesses that you want to have it. Make a list of who you need to contact. Usually, this list will include your bank, credit card companies, universities and schools, employer, insurance company, magazines, and your friends and family. It is probably less than you might think. And since most of this can be done online through the company’s website, it can take very little time.

This may seem like a hassle, but if you get a great company, like TNT Moving Systems, to handle the move, you will have time to keep your privacy and mailbox protected. If you  cannot stand direct mail offers, this may save you some frustration done the road. But ultimately, the decision is yours. If you do choose to change your address with the USPS, please be wary of online services that claim to do this for you for a small fee. People in Cincinanati have been complaining in droves about one online company, change-my-address.com, to the Better Business Bureau because of hidden fees. Remember, it’s your privacy. You can protect it by hiring a reputable moving company, shredding old documents, and by handling the your change of address yourself.