RALEIGH — Junk mail, spam and unsolicited calls and text messages may be annoying to some, but can potentially lead to identity theft if left in the wrong hands.
While it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate junk mail, spam text messages and unwanted phone calls, BBB recommends taking the following steps to get inboxes and smart phones under control:
•Unwanted mail should not cost someone their identity. Pre-approved credit card offers are an easy target for identity thieves who can steal incoming mail and use these offers to open fraudulent credit accounts. Stopping these pre-screened credit offers can help reduce the chances of identity theft. U.S. consumers can “opt-out” of receiving pre-approved credit card offers for at least five years by calling 1-888-567-8688 or by visiting optoutprescreen.com.
•Stop unwanted direct mail solicitations. To stop most mailings, U.S. consumers can go to dmachoice.org and opt out of mail from members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). DMA regularly updates its list, but it may take up to six months before solicitations from all DMA members stop.
•Have evenings been interrupted by telemarketers? The National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls at home. To register or to get information about the registry, visit donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222.
•Receiving spam text messages? Avoid responding, as this will only confirm a working number and will open the door for more messages. If the number is already on the Do Not Call Registry and is still receiving messages and phone calls, file a complaint with the FTC and consider PrivacyStar. BBB National Partners AT&T and Verizon have partnered with PrivacyStar to give customers control of smartphone.
The smartphone application, available in the U.S. for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone, lets people block unwanted numbers, look up unknown numbers and file a complaint with the FTC.
For more information, see bbb.org.