Hello Visitors from Newsy!

A few months ago a reporter from Newsy contacted me asking about junk mail. Some reporters want information about specific groups or a person who keeps popping up whenever you start to research scam PACs or scam charities. Not Karen. She wanted the BIG picture. She wanted to know about Big Data and international scams. I warned her that was a hard story to tell. It is so big, and there is so much going on. But she kept at it, for months.

This week Newsy is posting the story: Big Mail. Here is the piece plus a bonus video.

I won’t get to watch it until Monday on Roku. But I can give you some greatest hits of the blog, and a photo of the letter I’m reading in the preview.

Please read the About page for the back story of this blog.

The most important page, really the hart of the blog, is the Are You Drowning in Junk Mail? page. That is where I tell you step by step how to stop a massive junk mail problem.

Big Data part 1: Who or What is Big Data? and Big Data part 2: How to Opt-out of Big Data. Here is where I talk about Big Data and how to stop it.

Wrap up stats and other thoughts. When I ended the blog I made a post with a lot of scary numbers and a walk down memory lane of all the crap I got in the mail.

And just for fun here is the post documenting the most difficult time I had stopping one companies junk mail.

If you liked the story from Newsy, I highly recommend CNN’s story about Maria Duval. And the book that expands on the story.

Now for some vintage junk mail:

This mailpiece from Carmen Dumas is from 2014. This is the first page of the 5 page letter. In the preview I’m reading the first paragraph.

Spoiler Alert: Her help isn’t free. She wants $50 or for an extra $5 she will rush ship your lucky numbers to you.

Carmen Dumas Clairvoyant scam

If you all want I can give this scam letter it’s own post. Let me know in the comments.

This blog is mostly dark now. I made a Facebook page for the blog where I post news stories that relate to this blog. Elder fraud, scams, Postal workers not delivering mail (where were they when I needed them?) and anything else that catches my fancy.

If you need help stopping junk mail you can email me darthjenni@gmail.com or Facebook chat at the DIJM Facebook page. And unlike Carmen my help really is free.

Anatomy of a Mailpiece: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

When I was in the storm of stopping junk mail I didn’t have the time to slow down and really get in-depth with how the mailpieces are put together, how they are aimed at the elderly to get money from them.

Thankfully The Jesse Helms Center Foundation has ignored all the requests I have put out for them to stop sending mail to my house.

This includes:

Obviously I need to have another chat with my mail carrier, but in the mean time let’s take a long hard look at the fundraising mail The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is sending out to people.

Jesse Helms was the US Senator for North Carolina from 1973 to 2003. The Jesse Helms Center Foundation houses his papers and the museum is host various programs for students and guest speakers.

Mission Statement:
The Jesse Helms Center exists to promote traditional American values and the principles upon which our nation was founded and that Senator Jesse Helms advanced throughout his career. This is accomplished through education, public policy promotion,and historical preservation.The Jesse Helms Center Foundation’s programs are offered at little or no cost to the public. This is made possible by the support of foundations, individuals and corporations who recognize the value of the programs and the non-partisan commitment of the foundation.
How about this:

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Stop the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans!
3,000,000,000 Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans
Petition Demanding Your Senators REJECT This UN Tax
I am sure many of you are scratching your heads going What?! The UN is hurting for money so they wrote a proposal for various global taxes.  The boogie man in today’s junk mail are taxes that may or may not happen, that were proposed by the mostly toothless UN.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Please complete your personal, registered Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans I’ve enclosed, right away! So I can pressure the U.S. Senate to REJECT the TAX!
Then sign the enclosed REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions demanding your two Senators to vote to STOP the greedy U.N. bureaucrats’ plan to impose hundreds of billions in taxes on American citizens– for the first time in history.
Then return your Survey and Petitions to me today so the Jesse Helms Center can expose and stop President Obama’s plan before he sneaks this treaty through the Senate.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

ONE: Sign and return your REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions. I’ve sent you four Senate Petitions: One for each of your two Senators and one for each of the Senate’s majority leaders, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. Your Petitions urge McConnell and Cornyn to REJECT the  U.N.’s tax on Americans.
TWO: Complete your enclosed Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans and return it to me today. The Jesse Helms Center will send the results of the survey to key national news outlets, especially conservative talk radio, so they can expose this tax scheme and help us STOP the UN TAX.
THREE: Make a tax-deductible donation of $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more to the Jesse Helms Center to help fund our massive grassroots and media campaign to pressure ALL Senators – old and new! – to reject this U.N.’s tax scheme.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Did the font just get bigger?!

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

We are half way through and we need to stop and take a break. A few things I would like to point out:
The Printing: The font size is bigger than your average letter. It gets really big on page 3
The liberal use of ALL CAPS, Bold, Italic, and Underline.
The repetitive nature of the letter. They repeat the “3 part plan” on every page. Twice on page 4.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Here is the Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans. I’m not going to type the questions out. You can read them  yourself.


The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

Can anyone tell me where to put my CREDIT CARD INFORMATION?

In the body of the letter they were asking for “$1000 or more”. But now the top dollar amount they are asking for is $500. You have to be consistent with this stuff people. You just cost yourself a $1000 donation.

I also find the “I can’t make a donation right now but here is $9 to deliver my petitions.” very interesting. Even though they can’t get a lot of money out of you today, you are still interacting with the mail. You are telling them that you may donate in the future, or to some other cause.  Is $9 the cost of processing one check these days? They might break even on processing this transaction, but by the time they sell you to other mailing lists the may get their money back. Maybe. But that is for a real reporter to look into.

The Jesse Helms Center Foundation

And finally the REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions that we have been hearing so much about.

If the people that process the checks for the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, operate the same way as the ones who process the checks for psychic scams the “Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans” and the “REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions” will be tossed in the trash once they get the credit card information off of it, or grab the check out of the envelope.

If all of this seems familiar or formulaic it is because The Jesse Helms Center Foundation uses American Target Advertising for their direct mail. I have written about American Target Advertising here and I also reviewed  America’s Right Turn by Richard A. Viguerie (the founder of American Target Advertising). While American Target Advertising is not listed in The Jesse Helms Center Foundation‘s IRS 990’s (you can find them on their Charity Navigator page.) American Target Advertising did fundraising for Mr. Helms when he was alive, and the mailing list for The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is listed on Viguerie Political Lists website.

I will pull out the best part of Mr. Viguerie’s book America’s Right Turn. He outlines how movement starts and why that movement would want to use “alternative media” to get their message out.

 Issues that motivate:

A perceived crisis

Threats to a way of life

Idealistic revulsion against corruption

Idealistic projections of a better life

Then you need:

A dedicated vanguard

Self-identification as a movement

Communication networks

Money to fund the revolution

Let’s see if this letter checks off all the boxes:
  • A perceived crisis: “Stop the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans!”
  • Threats to a way of life: The U.N. is going to tax us $4 billion.
  • Idealistic revulsion against corruption: “This new tax would make the U.N. less dependent on dues from donor nations. And that Would make the U.N. bureaucrats even more unaccountable, more arrogant and more powerful than they are now.”
  • Idealistic projections of a better life: ??? This letter doesn’t talk about what will happen once the bad guys are overthrown.
  • A dedicated vanguard: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, “pro-sovereignty patriots like you”, 3 million Americans, Internet “warriors”
  • Self-identification as a movement: The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, pro-sovereignty patriots like you”
  • Communication networks:  “We will survey 3 million American patriots and share the results with media outlets.”
  • Money to fund the revolution: Make a tax-deductible donation of $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more

I almost had a junk mail BINGO, but they just had to be negative the whole letter.

A few more things you should look for in a mailpiece like this are:

  • How many pages is the pitch? (A milti-page pitch in a mailpiece will pull in more money than a one page pitch will. ) 4
  • Who are the good guys?:The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, pro-sovereignty patriots like you”.
  • Who are the bad guys?: The U.N. and Obama
  • Sense of urgency: “Please complete your personal, registered Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans I’ve enclosed, right away! ” and “return your Survey and Petitions to me today
  • Interaction with the mail:  Fill out the “REJECT the Unconstitutional U.N. TAX Petitions” and the  “Patriot Survey to STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans

The only goal of this mailpiece is to scare and upset a person so that they will send money to fight against whatever cause is in the letter. The combination of the size of the font, the liberal use of bolding important talking points, and repeating those talking points over and over, lead me to believe that this mailpiece is aimed at an elderly person.

The big question I have is Why? Why is this mailpiece coming from the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation and not The UN Sucks Foundation?  Do they have so little confidence in the mission of their foundation, that they have to go so wildly off topic to raise money? Is the cause of getting young people interested in government not good enough? Is digitizing a collection not a sexy enough topic to get people to pull out their checkbooks? If I lived in the town of Wingate, NC I would be a member just for the speakers they bring to town. Why are they spreading fear, when they could be spreading the positivity of what the foundation does every day.

Let’s return to Mr. Viguerie’s book America’s Right Turn for the answer:

Even in the environmental arena, where liberals have had so much success, Warwick sees nuances others might miss: “Certain issues strike a responsive cord with the public, and others don’t.  I mean, some of the worst problems we face in many communities in the country come from toxic spills and solid waste management. Yet it is virtually impossible to raise money around those issues-at least in ‘cold mail’ [prospect mail]. Whereas, if you want to save the rainforest, or cuddle pandas, it’s another story altogether.”

So the core mission of The Jesse Helms Center Foundation is the junk mail equivalent of a toxic spill, and “STOP the U.N. Tax THREAT to Americans” is like cuddling a panda Got it.

This space is normally where I tell everyone how to get off the mailing list of whom ever I’m talking about. Instead I’m going to ask for help. If you know who to call or email to get off the mailing list for the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, comment or email me darthjenni@gmail.com.

I received another mailpiece from them in July. At that time I filed complaints with the California Attorney General and the DMA with no effect.

In the week since I received this mailpiece I have sent a webmail to the The Jesse Helms Center Foundation, emailed John Dodd johndodd@jessehelmscenter.org. I have sent a webmail to American Target Advertising, and I have also sent a webmail to Viguerie Political Lists, and left a message with Marty Anderson who does list management for them.

It shouldn’t be this hard to stop junk mail.

Hello readers from The Daily Beast!

To opt-out of junk mail from Citizens United: info@citizensunited.org

If that doesn’t work contact the direct marketing firm that makes their mail HSP Direct info@hspdirect.com. If that doesn’t work, contact the CEO Jamie Hogan hogan@hspdirect.com.
Also contact NOVA List and email Sunrise Data Services removes@sunrisedataservices.com
Also Contact InfoCision, Call them at (330) 668-1400 or email them at infocis@infocision.com.

A couple of days ago Betsy Woodruff from The Daily Beast contacted me about one of my favorite group of scumbags: Citizens United. It was quite an ordeal to stop junk mail from them a couple of years ago. Email and phone calls did nothing to stop junk mail from them. I had to contact their direct marking firm HSP Direct and their telemarketer InfoCision.

Edit: Part 2: Right-Wing Group Citizens United Again May Have Tried to Trick the Elderly Into Giving It Cash

The reason that reporters are interested in Citizens United right now, is that the head of Citizens United David Bossie is working for team Trump. No wonder Mr. Trump talks like a piece of junk mail come to life.

Citizens United does not care who wins or looses in November. All they care about is making sure the money doesn’t stop flowing to them. They will say anything to get a check out of you.

Do you care about our troops?
Citizens United
Citizens United has got you covered.

You you want to fill out a survey and tell people how angry you are about illegal immigrants committing voter fraud?
Citizens United for a Secure America
Citizens United has got you covered.

Are you worried that “In God We Trust” is going to be removed from US currency?
Citizens United
Not only has Citizens United has got you on this, they will send you a one dollar bill to remind you what it looks like.

And the mailpiece that Betsy really liked:

Woops! Could you resend that $50 check you sent us a while back?
Citizens United form 1500
The only problem was that we took her checkbook away in November 2013, and this came in June of 2014.

Betsy Woodruff wants to write more about political junk mail. If you are drowning in junk mail and want to tell your story and share the junk mail you get, contact Betsy by email woodruff.betsy@gmail.com or on the twitters @woodruffbets. She is looking for junk mail from David Bossie, Citizens United or anything else that exploits the elderly. You know the stuff I’m talking about: Social Security is going to be taken away, The Death Tax. That kind of nonsense.


Hello to readers from CNN!

Hello everyone visiting from CNN!

Today CNN Money published the story of PacNet. They process the checks for many of the scams that come in the mail.

I have been working with Melanie Hicken and Blake Ellis for a couple of years. A long time, and a million pieces of junk mail ago Melanie contacted me asking about the junk mail industrial complex. I don’t think she or Blake realized what a rabbit hole junk mail could be. But they tumbled down into it with me. I sent her a box filled with, the best? The worst junk mail I had. That box helped with their first junk mail story about Maria Duval. If you look close in the first video you can see the box and it’s contents on the table.

When Melanie contacted me the first time one of the questions she asked was how much money she had given away, and to whom. I had no idea. I was so busy slaying the junk mail dragon I hadn’t thought to look. One of her kids and I went through the last year of her bank account and we were shocked at what we found.

I wrote about that here: How much money did she give away?

While we looked through her account I printed out anything that looked interesting. Some of the checks were written out to random initials and they were all around $25 or so. There were a lot of them so I only printed out a few, put them a side to deal with later.

When Melanie and Blake contacted me for their new story, they asked if I had herd of PactNet. I dug through the stack of canceled checks I had printed out over a year ago. Lo and behold, not only did I have a check processed by PactNet I had 3!

Huge thank you to Melanie Hicken and Blake Ellis for diving into this topic. And thanks to their editor who let them do not one, but two long investigative reports on the dark and dirty world of junk mail.

If you or a loved one are drowning in junk mail please read my battle plan on how to stop it.  If you need more help you can email me at darthjenni@gmail.com.

Are you mad that this is going on, and want it to stop? Contact your Congress person and Senator (especially if they are on the Senate Committee on Aging). Facebook share CNN’s story to them, Tweet it to them.  Get out a piece of paper and a pen and write to them. Let them know how junk mail is affecting your family, and that it needs to be stopped.

How to Stop Junk Mail from the Major Party US Presidential Candidates 2016

Now that both conventions are over and we know who is running for president for the two major parties, it is time for our mailboxes to be flooded with junk mail.

Pile of junk mail

This is not the first step you should take to stop junk mail invading your house. Please follow my instructions for how to put a shield around your mailbox first, or contacting these people will do you no good. They buy and trade so many mailing lists, it is like playing whack-a-mole unless you put up a strong shield first.

Today, we will be stopping junk mail from the campaign that is asking for money. This will not stop those #@$#% postcards and fliers that you get during an election. The asking-for-money mailing list is different from the postcard list. The postcard list is based on the voter rolls. If you want to stop getting those, don’t register to vote. Don’t do that! Vote every election.

While I focus on real life, in-your-mailbox junk mail, you should know that they keep track of everything a supporter of a campaign does. How much money you donated, when you donated it, through what channel you gave it (postal mail, email, text). They also sell mailing lists back and forth. When a candidate drops out, one of the first things they do is sell their donor list to the other people running.

This is from the Privacy Policy of one of the PACs:

Third-party partners. We may share your information with organizations with similar political objectives and viewpoints for the purpose of advancing our own political objectives.”

That 3rd party? That is code for more junk mail.

Stopping Junk Mail:

If a candidate is sending you junk mail, call and email their office and tell them to stop. If you are ignored, put your request to be taken off a candidate’s mailing list on Twitter. Tweet at the campaign and the people running it. I found tweeting at them to be more effective than posting on the Facebook page for the campaign. But look closely at that piece of junk mail, is it directly from the candidate, or is it from their PAC? I will give you the contact information for both.

Stopping Emails and Phone Calls:

The best way to stop emails is to click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email and follow the instructions. Gmail and Outlook have unsubscribe built into the program. If that doesn’t work, start calling, emailing, and tweeting at them.

The phone calls are harder to stop. The Do Not Call list does not apply to campaign calls. If you get a real person on the line, tell them that unwanted phone calls and junk mail from political candidates is the most important issue in America today.

Stopping Recurring Donations on a Website:

This year donating to a campaign through the internet really took off. Bernie Sanders used ActBlue as his main fundraising platform. A part of internet fundraising sites is setting up a recurring donation. They make it very easy to start. But very difficult to stop. Mic media wrote instructions on how to stop recurring donations from both the Clinton and Trump websites.

What if none of that works?

If you contact a campaign and the junk mail doesn’t stop, take it to the next level. File a complaint with the DMA, the FTC, and your state’s attorney general.

My sources will be:

From the Sunlight Foundation:  Open Secrets and Influence Explorer because they are all about the money trail.

Ballotpedia and P2016 because they list the team that is running the campaign.

The root of all of this information is the FEC fillings by the candidates and their committees.

Let’s start off with the Democrats:

DNC junk mail

Hillary Clinton website 1

Hillary Clinton, official campaign websiteBallotpedia page, Open Secrets page, P2016 page. She is a former First Lady and a former Secretary of State.

To opt-out from official campaign: the contact page has a webmail form. Also call (646) 854-1432.  Twitter: @HillaryClinton.

Hillary for America’s  direct mail is by Mission Control, Inc (the only junk mail you’ll ever read… twice). Politico talking about Mission Control getting the direct mail contract.

Hillary Victory Fund is using  Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey for it’s direct mail program.

The biggest PAC supporting Team Clinton is Priorities USA Action. Influence Explorer page. To opt-out: send an email to EmailDigital1@prioritiesusaaction.org Twitter: @prioritiesUSA

Now for the Republicans:

National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee

Trump 1

Donald Trump, official campaign websiteBallotpedia page, Open Secrets page, P2016 page. He is a businessman from New York.

To opt-out: the contact page has a webmail form and call (646)736-1779. Twitter @realDonaldTrump.

Direct mail is by Left Hand Enterprises LLC. It is a front for Persuasion Partners.  Washington Post article that talks about Left Hand and the other direct mail firms that Team Trump is using. Including Wizbang Solutions.

Team Trump has 2 fundraising committees in partnership with the RNC:

Trump Make America Great Again Committee 310 First St SE Washington, D.C. 20003 or PO BOX 1776 Merrifield, Va 22116-9400  and Trump Victory fund. Fortune talking about the joint fundraising partnership.

From Politico:

“Party fundraisers have informed some Trump-weary donors that they can earmark their donations to Trump Victory and another joint committee called Trump Make America Great Again Committee in such a way that all the money will go to the RNC, and none to Trump, according to a finance operative who delivered such as solicitation and a donor who received such a solicitation.”

To opt-out of these 2 groups I would contact the National Republican Committee, to opt-out: send an email to eCampaign@GOP.com with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. They are assuming you are opting-out of email, let them know it is for physical postal mail, and call (202) 863-8500. Twitter @GOP. Make sure you mention that Trump Make America Great Again Committee and the Trump Victory Fund are why you want off their mailing lists.

Even though he didn’t want them, there are a few PACs supporting team Trump:

The most active so far is Great America PAC, Influence Explorer page. New York Times article about Great America PAC. To opt-out: the contact page has a webmail form. Twitter: @GreatAmericaPAC

There are other pro-Trump PACs out there but they are having trouble raising funds. One pro-Cruz PAC has flipped and become pro-Trump.

Update August 29, 2016: There is a new scam PAC. American Horizons PAC run by Ian Hawes. Open Secrets page, Influence Explorer page. Politico story about American Horizons PAC and Ian Hawes.
He is fundraising through 2 websites, dinnerwithtrump.org, Facebook page Help Support Donald Trump. And crookedhillary2016.org, Facebook page CrookedHillary2016. Do not give money to American Horizons PAC. None of the money is going to help team Trump.

Did I miss something? Are you getting junk mail from different Trump or Clinton groups? Let me know in the comments.

Drowning in Junk Mail – Rules for the Stop Junk Mail Project

After I wrote the last post I realized that I had never told you guys what my rules were. I talk about them throughout the blog, but I never said what they were.

Junk Mail Rules

The Rules for the stop junk mail project:

Spend as little time as possible dealing with the mail.
I wrote a blog about the mail so I spent about 1,000% more time touching, photographing, researching the mail than a normal person should. If I hadn’t documented everything, I would have spent about 1-3 hours a week on the mail. Put all the mail in a box. Sort through it once a week, enter it into PaperKarma, then call and email the people who sent the most junk mail in a week.
This philosophy is what lead me to going after the fundraising companies and direct mail firms. If I could go above the piece of mail in my hand and stop another 5, or 10 charities who use the same direct mail firms, that would save me time.

Spend as little money as possible.
I only used postage to send Form 1500’s out. I bought all the supplies at the dollar store or Wal-Mart using the money that was sent to me in the junk mail.

When dealing with the people who work in the direct mail industry, treat them with respect. 
Call it social engineering. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Use whatever philosophy you need to get you through the interaction with them. You need their help. You need them to do what you want them to do. Coming at them from an angry place will get you nowhere. These people are at work and have a job to to. Do you like it when people come out of nowhere and start yelling at you at work? No. If someone is throwing a temper tantrum are you going to go out of your way to help them? No. Of corse I say all of that and I blew up at someone. Even I had a breaking point.
One thing I did learn is that instead of saying “I need to get my relative off your mailing list.” Say “I need to get off your mailing list.” It was a lot easier to get the person on the phone to help me if I became the person who’s mail I was trying to stop.

Keep emails as short, and on point as possible.
The emails I sent were very short:

Subject line: Remove from Mailing lists

Body of email:
Please remove
from your mailing lists.
Thank you,

No long story about your loved one. They don’t care. If they cared about the pain their junk mail causes, they would work to stop the out of control selling and trading of personal information in the direct mail industrial complex.

Keep track of when the mail should stop. Follow up when it doesn’t.
March Calendar
I used one of the calendars that came in the junk mail to keep track of when junk mail from each group should stop. Use whatever system works best for you. Following up is very important. They are counting on you forgetting about them in 8 weeks. If you get something on the 9th week call and email them that day. Don’t let them push you around. If you have to, email the CEO of whatever group you are trying to stop. Every mailpiece they send after it should have stopped is another email and another phone call, until the junk mail stops.

If the junk mail doesn’t stop, tattle on them to anyone who will listen.

I'm not going to be ignored, junk mail

I’m not going to be ignored, junk mail

They have promised that the junk mail will stop in 8 weeks, twice now. But after 16 weeks the junk mail hasn’t stopped. It is time to take it to the next level. If not for you then for the next person who has the same problem with the same people. If enough complaints are filed someone will take notice. File complaints with the DMA, and your state’s Attorney General.

While it won’t stop the junk mail you can also file complaints with the FTC and the  U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Many a criminal investigation was started with someone seeing a lot of complaints with the FTC or the USPS.

If you really want to make a stink go to the media. Reporters are always looking for a good story, and everyone hates junk mail.  Every local TV station and newspaper has a customer advocate “On your side” reporter.  Contact them and tell them what you are going through to stop junk mail, who won’t stop after all that hard work, and how it has affected your family. This story from ABC15 Arizona is a perfect example of the type of story I am talking about.

Are there any other rules for stopping junk mail I should have?

Drowning in Junk Mail – How to get Junk Mail Revenge

How to get junk mail revenge

How to get junk mail revenge

This is not the first step to stopping junk mail. Read the Start Here page to see how stuffing envelopes fits into my battle plan for stopping junk mail. This is the fun part of stopping junk mail. It is like arts & crafts. Get the kids involved! Everyone loves glitter and sharpies!

Things you will need for this project:

  1. Pre-paid envelops found in the junk mail you want to stop.
  2. Flat objects that will fit into the envelope.
  3. A black marker.

There are 2 goals for this project:

  1. Cost the junk mailer money.
  2. Be so annoying to the people who open the mail, that they will take you off the mailing list.

This is the least effective way to stop junk mail. It is more therapy than anything else. I found it very satisfying every week filling the envelopes with garbage, sending it off and “sticking to the man.” The goal was to be as annoying to them as they were to me. If they are going to waste my time will all that junk mail, I am going to cost them money.

First I will tell you what not to do. Then I will show you the best way to get some small bit of revenge on the people hammering you with junk mail.

Return to sender
One of the first things people do when they want to stop junk mail is write “Return to Sender” on the envelope and put it back in the mail box. This no longer works. The postal worker will just toss it out.

There are also some popular memes on the net on how to stop junk mail:

LOL look he put a bricks and rocks in a box then mailed it off!!11!!

The only problem is that this doesn’t work. A pre-paid envelope is not a mailing label. It is an envelope. The postal worker can declare it trash and toss it out.

What about a brick? Can I put the pre-paid envelope on a brick??
Pre-paid envelope taped to a brick
Again no. You can’t put a pre-paid envelope on a brick and expect it to get to it’s destination.

From the Straightdope, From MotherJones.com

“According to rule 917.243(b) in the Domestic Mail Manual, when a business reply card is “improperly used as a label” — e.g., when it’s affixed to a brick — the item so labeled may be treated as “waste.” That means the post office can toss it in the trash without further ado.”

We must work within the rules that the postoffice has set up.

Time for a video!

Let’s review:

No Postage Necessary if Mailed in the United States
Gather up all the pre-paid return envelopes you get in the junk mail.

When you are done stuffing the envelope, you want it to be thick so that it costs more. Over 1/4in is best.

You want the envelope to be stiff so it won’t go through the sorting machine. The guy in the video spent money to buy the pieces of wood. Spending lots of money is a no no and goes against one of my rules. I bet that if you go through the week’s junk mail or your closet you will find something stiff to slide into the envelope.

Put old CD's in medium envelopes, it will make it stiff and cost them more postage

Note cards? Or other thick, stiff paper.

stuffed envelope 50 grams
Don’t have any of that? You can also use shredded paper.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee, Stuffed envelope
Now for some fun. Stuff the envelope as full as you can with other junk mail.

stuffing the envelopes of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton
In this example I have pulled the old political switcharoo. Slick Willy goes in the RNC envelope, and 41 goes into the Democratic Senate something something envelope. Mix it up as much as you can. Try not to put the same junk mail back in the return envelope. You want to come off as goofy as possible. You want to to be kicked off the mailing list.

Since all they want from you is money toss in a fake check or 2.

Princess Money from the Dollar store
or Princess money from the dollar store.

Stuffed Fake Lottery
In this example the entry fee for the fake lottery was $10. So I slipped in a fake $10 bill.

I also liked to use perfume samples from magazines.
perfume samples from magazines
Tear them out and cut them up into smaller pieces. If you keep them in a baggy all together the smells all combine into an ungodly stench.

National Republican Congressional Committee
DNC Survey
Fill out their little survey (I always tried to make junk mail the #1 issue that Americans were concerned about). Then write “Take me off your mailing list” in large friendly letters with a black marker. The guy in the video talks about “having a conversation” with the junk mail sender. You can write a note about how the junk mail has affected your family, or any other topic you want.

Adding glitter
Then top it all off with a sprinkle of glitter.

I will repeat: The goal is to be as annoying as possible. Nothing is more annoying as glitter mixed with stinky shredded paper all over the office.

Stuffed, Sharpied and ready to go
Mark out all the bar codes on the front of the envelope. This makes the post office sorting computer not to read the envelope and causes an extra step for the postal workers. The post office will charge them for the extra sorting time.

What is you favorite thing to stuff an envelope with?

Drowning in Junk Mail – Wrap up stats and other thoughts

Hi there everyone. This blog is coming to an end. The junk mail has stopped for good. Some days my mailbox is empty. I thought I would give the blog some closure, and take a peak into the box of junk I have been holding on to for a year.

The average American household receives 848 pieces of junk mail per year.
From April 2014 to December 2014, 8 months she received about 1,786 mailpieces.
From January 2015 to September 2015, 9 months she received about 155 mailpieces. Her peak week was 154 mailpieces.

Money spent about $220. Some it was bankrolled by money found in the junk mail.

Postage and stamps – $150 This is so high because of all the larger mailpieces that got a Form 1500, and all the jerks that had to go to step 2.
Envelopes $8 all bought at the Dollar store.
Fake Money and Real Glitter
Glitter $6
Princess money $1
Permanent markers – $2 for 2 packages of permanent markers from the Dollar Store.
Paper $4 (I think it was on sale) the cheapest ream of paper from Wal-Mart.
Toner – $25 It takes me about a year to go through a cartridge. Even printing on the lightest setting, was no match for the 100+ Form 1500’s I printed out.
Avery Mailing Labels – $23

A lot of that was optional. You don’t need Avery mailing labels or glitter.

I think a lot of people have been waiting for this. The big box of all the crap that I have gotten over the past year.

Over 100 form 1500’s. This does not include all the mistakes I made. And there were a lot of mistakes. I tossed in the DMA complaints that I had a paper copy of into the photo.

Happy photos of happy politicians.

Greeting Cards. I can to open a Hallmark store now.

Membership cards. What would you like to be a card carrying member of? I have plenty of choices.

Note pads. This is not all of them. I used 3 of them for taking notes about the blog.

Post cards. Because you never know when you will need a post card from Jesse Helms.

National Association of Blind Veterans a project of National Federation of the Blind
This cheap travel clock from National Association of Blind Veterans is a favorite of mine. Mostly because it has a cover over the clock face, rendering it useless for a blind person. The face is just a piece of paper. I sent this off to Melanie Hicken a CNN reporter along with a pile of junk mail. I like to imagine that in the middle of the big fancy NY CNN office there is a reporter with this cheap clock on her desk.

Bookmarks and prayer cards. Note that I wrote my own prayer on one of them.

A couple of DVD’s. One of them with the Fox News all-stars on the cover.

Calendars. How nice you have a different photo for each month. I have a different calendar for each month!

Window clings. Why yes I do support one of the worst charities in America.

Fake checks. Whatever you do don’t cash these. It gives the “charity” access to your bank account.

Of course the crap from St. Joseph’s gets a photo all it’s own

Mountain States Legal Foundation
By far the strangest swag I received was a bag of dirt. Sadly I don’t know where they are right now. They were lost in the piles of junk mail.

return mailing labels
And the granddaddy of them all. Over 1,600 return mailing labels. Keep in mind I used hundreds of them, and didn’t make a dent in the pile.

The blog maybe slowing down, but if you still want stories about junk mail, the elderly, scams, scam PACs, scam charities, and anything else that catches my fancy you can follow the Facebook page I set up for the blog.

One last thought: I do not make money from this blog. The ads you see are not from me. WordPress has to cover it’s costs some how.  Ethically I can not monetize this blog. Can you imagine the ads that Google ads would put on this blog with all the political, and charity links I have put on it?

How to Stop Mail for a Deceased Person

AARP has a great check list of things to do when someone dies. I am going to expand on the section about what to do with a deceased person’s mail.

With in days of the person’s death put a stop on the mail with the post office. Piles of mail on the porch will bring unwanted attention to the house if no one is there.

After the funeral, put in a change of address to the Post Office to redirect the mail to the executor of the estate.

To stop junk mail:

Use the deceased persons original address for this step. It will take a while for the junk mail to catch up to the change of address.

Fill out the DMA’s Deceased Do Not Contact Registration form.

acxiom is a huge data broker. Their opt-out page has a box you can check if you are opting-out a deceased person opt-out here.

Epsilon.com AKA Abacus is another huge data broker. They have a whole page about opting-out from them, but if you only want to opt-out a deceased person call them at (888) 780-3869 with the full name, address and date of death of the deceased, and they will remove the individual from their databases.

None of them will ask you for paperwork of any kind.

It is going to take 3 months for all that to take effect.

In the mean time open all the mail and look for pre-paid envelopes and send it back with note saying that the person is deceased.

Competitive Enterprise Institute

This is what I did. You do not have to be as blunt as I was.

If you have a smartphone you can use the Paperkarma app. You can add the deceased person’s name along with everyone else that receives mail at your address. Or you can make a separate account for the deceased person with both their original address and the new address.

You can also write “Deceased” on the outer envelope of all un-opened junk mail. Then give it back to your postal worker.

Change Of Address Packages

After the estate is settled and is dissolved, and you are no longer receiving important legal mail for the estate, get 2 change of address packages from your post office. One is going to be for the deceased person’s original mailing address and the other is for the address the mail was changed to after they died.

Fill it out like normal but under “New Mailing Address” put Deceased.

Change Of Address form Deceased

DO NOT MAIL THIS IN! You are going to hand it into the local post office branch for each address. When you hand it in, have a copy of the proof that you have Power of Attorney, or are the Executor of the Estate, and a copy of the Death Certificate. This should stop all mail immediately.

I hope this quick guide makes this small part of dealing with the death of a loved one, a little easier to navigate.

Drowning in Junk Mail – This Month in Junk Mail – September, 8 pieces

All 8 pieces

This is it. Put a fork in me, I’m done. After doing this for a year an a half I am stopping this project.

Woo Hoo!!

Her estate is settled, and she is only getting junk mail now. But just because my junk mail stopping project is done, doesn’t mean I am done with junk mail for good. I have a few more junk mail stopping tips to write about. I also have a wrap-up post to do (come on don’t you want to know how many calendars I got over the past year?). I am also taking everything I learned, and everything that I think needs to be changed and putting it into a letter and sending it to the Senate Special Committee on Aging and anyone else I can think of. The biggest of all is I am helping a couple of CNN reporters research the junk mail industrial complex. If you want to talk about your battle with junk mail with a reporter contact Melanie Hicken melanie.hicken@turner.com. They just wrapped up a report on the BBB if you want to see the kind of work they do.

All 8 pieces

Here are the 8 pieces she received in September. Last September she received about 150 pieces of junk mail.

House junk mail

These 3 are all about her house. One is from a Farmers Insurance agent in her city to renew her policy. The other 2 are from Homeowner Rights Law Group (800) 969-4754, dealing with the fallout of her reverse mortgage.

Charter cable junk mail

Not even death can stop junk mail from the local cable company.

Care More

This is from Care More.  They are “One of America’s leading architects of integrated medical care to the elderly.” Whatever that means.


National Anti-Vivisection SocietyWiki page, Charity Navigator page, opt-out here navs@navs.org and call (800) 888-NAVS. Some of you may not know what a vivisection is. It is a the dissection of an animal while it is still alive. BTW that link on the the word vivisection is not for the weak of stomach.


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Wiki page, Charity Navigator page. To opt-out: call (877) NAACP98 that is (877) 622-2798, or the national office (410) 580-5615, or the membership hotline (866) 636-2227.

Sweepstakes Clearinghouse

Sweepstakes Clearinghouse 2000 E Lamar Blvd Ste 600 Arlington TX 76006

You win Sweepstakes Clearinghouse. Only telling the post office she is dead, and stopping all of her mail will stop you.

One Pre-paid envelope ready to go

One last bit of revenge on Sweepstakes Clearinghouse. I hope you guys like glitter.