How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

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mjdaniel
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How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mjdaniel » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:37 pm

My mother in law passed away in 2014. My wife and I filled out a post office form to have her mail forwarded to our house as we tied up loose ends. After a while, the mail with the yellow address label (which indicated it was forwarded) stopped and what we continued getting was junk mail like we had done a change of address. This stuff is not even interesting to open, most are charity and political stuff. I thought about taking them one at the time and if they contained an email address or phone number I would contact them about her status. I was hoping there would be one thing I could do to eliminate all of it. Any ideas?

Sidney
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Sidney » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:40 pm

Should taper off after ~ 5 years. I have never been successful in stopping it. I think attempts to contact the senders only creates more.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

daveatca
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You can't

Post by daveatca » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:42 pm

Patience grasshopper.
My FIL died in 2003.
Got a hearing aid offer last week.
12 years and counting.

quantAndHold
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:44 pm


Stonebr
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Stonebr » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:49 pm

I have had this problem for the past year following my mother's death. As the executor of her estate I wanted all of her mail. The junk mail was tough but not impossible to stop. Unfortunately, you will have to make a lot of phone calls directly to senders. Fortunately, nearly all of the ones I had to call were very quick to stop sending mail to a deceased person.

For catalogs you should contact catalogchoice.org. But even there, some of the catalog companies don't get the message -- or refuse to hear it when they do. A phone call does the trick with even these. There are other junk mail control websites, and I've used some of them for years. But nothing beats a direct contact with the sender.

I heard of one person who hired their teenage daughter to make all the calls. They paid her something like a dollar for every junk mail item.
"have more than thou showest, | speak less than thou knowest" -- The Fool in King Lear

youbetcha
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by youbetcha » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:58 pm

I was administrator of an estate recently and changed the deceased address to mine. Junk mail was driving me nuts. The letters from religious folks looking for donations was relatively easy to fix, but time consuming. Most of the mailings contained an e-mail address or enough information that I could find their website that contained an email address. I sent them an e-mail and said something like "I regret to inform you that XXXXX died on a particular date. Would you please be so kind as to stop sending mail to her." (in the subject line I think I put deceased). I would also state "this is how her name address show up in your records."

Almost all of them replied saying they were sorry for my loss and said it may take several months because the make up their lists months in advance. It seems to have worked very well.

Twins Fan
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Twins Fan » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:00 pm

mjdaniel wrote:Any ideas?
Do you have a recycle bin or trash can? :happy

Probably not much you can do about it, so sort it out and do what you do with unwanted mail.

I still get mail for people that lived in my house before I did. The Post Office doesn't care and I've contacted a few places to try and tell them the person no longer lives here.... they didn't care either. I got something just yesterday for a former resident, it was a photo radar enforcement ticket for that person! I called the city the ticket was from to try and explain they didn't live here. They didn't care either. Trash can it went. Good luck to that person when they go to renew their tabs.

Moral of the story.... what is an annoying problem to you is a small, SMALL concern to the folks you wish would make it stop. Control what you can... just throw it in the trash/recycle and call it good. :happy

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wander
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by wander » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:19 pm

- If from a company or a person, I circle the name "don't live here" and mark "return to sender"
- From newspaper or ads, trash bin it goes.
- I do not open people's mail, and don't mind to drop them in outgoing box with "return to sender" note.

cadreamer2015
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by cadreamer2015 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:37 pm

My brother had his mail sent to my address for a year when he was in Nepal. This was more than 30 years ago. I still get occasional mail for him. This after I've moved across the country 4 times and have had 7 different mailing addresses.

The recycle bin is your friend.
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92irish
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by 92irish » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:47 pm

There can be some good deals...

My grandmother died a couple years ago at 98 and every couple months she still gets a coupon for a free pair of panties at Victoria Secrets. My wife takes the coupon and pretends to be my grandmother.

I like to joke with her and ask if she is wearing granny underpants that day. A whole new meaning to the phrase :) .

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cheese_breath
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:50 pm

92irish wrote:There can be some good deals...

My grandmother died a couple years ago at 98 and every couple months she still gets a coupon for a free pair of panties at Victoria Secrets. My wife takes the coupon and pretends to be my grandmother.

I like to joke with her and ask if she is wearing granny underpants that day. A whole new meaning to the phrase :) .
I bet the mortician got a surprise when he say what Granny had under that plain dress.
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dbr
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:52 pm

Some stuff still comes 15 years out, but there is an exponential decline with a half life of a couple of years.

gd
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by gd » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:56 pm

You can't. A relative received credit card offers from American Express to a mystery name at their address for well over a decade. He repeatedly contacted them in various ways to stop it, and never could. He cancelled his own American Express account in response. His opinion was that the requests were forwarded to the mailing service that generated the junk mail, which had no reason to reduce the list that produced their per-unit revenue.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by FelixTheCat » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:11 pm

I had my mother's mail forwarded it to me. The junk naturally disappears after a while.
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mouses
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mouses » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:17 pm

If you go to the direct marketing association website there is a link somewhere to say the person is deceased. That seems to help with some.

Otherwise, what eventually works is what I have to do to stop junk mail to myself. You must be 100% vigilant about calling every company that sends this stuff and asking them not only to stop sending it to the person but not to rent or sell the contact information to anyone else.

Periodically some junk mail will reappear, but not too often, and I do this over again. I think this is triggered by buying stuff online.

inbox788
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by inbox788 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:45 pm

Refuse Your Mail

https://sites.google.com/site/refuseyourmail/how-to

Also, ever since I got over 100 Christmas catalogs a while back (all went straight into the trash), I've been vigilant about removing my name from mailing lists. Some companies share their list or do business under many names, so I started getting catalogs from companies I've never done business with, only to discover they were related to another that I did. So now I also ask to remove my name from any affiliated companies, and sometimes that can be several.

I still get a dozen or two, but a chain of phone calls later and I get a little peace for a year or two. My alternative was to figure out a way to turn them into fire logs. Then I'd want every bit of paper they send me :happy

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celia
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by celia » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:49 pm

For the mailings that had a self-addressed return envelope with postage, I took the piece of mail with the deceased's name and address, wrote "deceased" on it, and mailed it back to them.

For the rest, I got a set (about 20) US postcards and wrote "Please remove from all mailing lists. Deceased." in the middle of the back of the card (non-postage side). Then whenever a piece of mail came, I would address the front to the company and tape the deceased's name and address part of the mailing label to the other side and mail it back. Note that the back-side with the deceased's mailing label should not have it in the middle of the card or it might be re-delivered to you. I'd put it in the upper left corner with the "Please remove from all mailing lists. Deceased" in the middle of the postcard. Mailings stopped in a few months.
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by RadAudit » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:09 pm

Change the mailing address to the cemetery? :happy
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mouses
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mouses » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:31 pm

RadAudit wrote:Change the mailing address to the cemetery? :happy
I realize there's a missing sarcasm emoticon, but don't think of doing this. Cemeteries have enough problems with vandalism and etc. without getting everyone's junk mail.

john94549
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by john94549 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:51 pm

My Mom died some time back. She contributed to many organizations, and, as a result, got on many mailing lists. We tried sending the stuff back, but it still keeps coming. Finally gave up. Now, we just toss it in re-cycle.

I suspect the only solution is to never, ever, file a forwarding address form when your Mom dies. Once the USPS sends the "forwarding address" to its junk mail clients, you're fair game forever.
Last edited by john94549 on Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

123
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by 123 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:57 pm

I've had success by adding a "Please Forward to" note on the front of the envelope with the name of the addressee and using the return address of the item as the forwarding to address. It seems to usually work since the people that process the returned mail probably don't care.
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fposte
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by fposte » Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:00 am

quantAndHold wrote:This site might help: https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php
That Deceased Do Not Contact list linked there worked really well for me. There 's only one determined charity that thinks they still have a chance at getting money from my dad.

Freddy
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Freddy » Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:10 am

Four and a half years after my wife's dad passed and we just got another junker the other day. It has tapered off quite a bit, but it is still annoying. I think every charity, legit or not, targets the elderly. I guess they are softer touches. The shredder/trash is your friend.

john94549
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by john94549 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:29 am

I asked our friendly mail person what to do, She responded, in a kindly fashion, just throw it in re-cycle. As she noted, there is really nothing the USPS can do, once you are on a mailing list.

Caduceus
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Caduceus » Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:08 am

You have to stop it at the source.

Go to dmachoice.org and register the deceased's name on the Deceased Do Not Mail list. This will cause a good amount of the marketing/non-profits to cease after a few months.

Everytime you get a letter, you could take a snapshot using PaperKarma - this is a service that will contact the mailer on your behalf (for free) and you will get a confirmation once they've taken you off the mailing list. PaperKarma tends to have the actual information of the people in each organization that is directly responsible for taking people off mailing lists, so you don't have to find that number yourself, which can be difficult.

If you have the information, you should also delete any online accounts (e.g. on Amazon or other shopping sites) that are registered in her name, to stop affiliate sharing for marketing purposes.

To reduce junk mail for yourself or other living persons, you can take additional steps: do not give out your real mailing / phone address unless necessary; do not use loyalty cards (e.g. at grocery stores) or if you use them, do not give them a real address/phone number tied to that card; call your credit card company within two weeks of registering for a new card to opt out of all marketing; email individual sites to have your account information deleted (each site's policy will differ - for instance, you have to email Groupon in order to delete your account, but some others will have an automated process); before deleting your information, replace it with random anonymous details (e.g. if you are John Smith, update your account so you are Mary Tralalala)

If you ever move addresses, do not use USPS's "permanent" forwarding service (up to one year), as USPS will sell this information to the marketing folks. You can use USPS's "temporary" service, even if yours is a permanent move, so that USPS thinks you haven't moved. You can update the address for your banks and other accounts on your own without USPS's help. USPS is the main culprit of junk mail following people around due to mail forwarding service, so this is important.

After a few months, you shouldn't have any more junk mail.

larklea
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by larklea » Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:34 am

It took me years to get a bank to quit sending my deceased mother a 'statement' every year showing her $5000 credit line. This for someone that was destitute and on Medicaid near the end. To make it worse, the mail came to one of our previous residences and the new homeowner religiously forwarded this one item to us every year. He got a gift card annually from us.

Unbelievable. The bank wouldn't listen to me, as my power of attorney isn't applicable after death. I can't remember how many death certificates I sent them.

I think I finally got it fixed two years ago. She passed away in 2002.

mouses
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 30, 2016 8:41 am

larklea wrote:It took me years to get a bank to quit sending my deceased mother a 'statement' every year showing her $5000 credit line. This for someone that was destitute and on Medicaid near the end. To make it worse, the mail came to one of our previous residences and the new homeowner religiously forwarded this one item to us every year. He got a gift card annually from us.

Unbelievable. The bank wouldn't listen to me, as my power of attorney isn't applicable after death. I can't remember how many death certificates I sent them.

I think I finally got it fixed two years ago. She passed away in 2002.
If you were the executor, they should have listened to you.

Lexi
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Lexi » Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:36 am

When my mother entered a skilled nursing facility I needed to receive her mail, but I did not want to get her junk mail forever. I opened a post office box for her and forwarded it to that. After she died I left it open for about a year to be sure I had received anything important. Then I closed it with no forwarding address.
No junk mail.
I think they key is to never forward it to your own permanent address.

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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Leeraar » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:46 am

Is there a reply paid envelope?

Take the original mail, stuff it in the reply envelope, and send it all back to them.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

Leeraar
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Leeraar » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:53 am

Is there a reply paid envelope?

Take the original mail, stuff it in the reply envelope, and send it all back to them. No explanation or request needed.

Worked well for me. You might consider adding a piece of scrap metal to make the envelope heavier.

L.
You can get what you want, or you can just get old. (Billy Joel, "Vienna")

mouses
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:54 am

Leeraar wrote:Is there a reply paid envelope?

Take the original mail, stuff it in the reply envelope, and send it all back to them.

L.
I think this may not work. I don't think the company collecting donations or whatever is necessarily telling the soliciters when they get envelopes of trash.

peppers
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by peppers » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:57 am

My father passed 21 years ago. A few times a month something will come in addressed to him.
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."

quantAndHold
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:40 pm

fposte wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:This site might help: https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php
That Deceased Do Not Contact list linked there worked really well for me. There 's only one determined charity that thinks they still have a chance at getting money from my dad.
I'll add, a couple of years before Dad died, I went to the DMA site and opted out of junk mail for him. I also put him in the federal do not call registry, and opted him out of unsolicited credit card offers. He was starting to have cognitive problems, and I wanted to limit how many of those kinds of offers he got. He still got mail and calls from all of the organizations that he already had a relationship with, just not any new ones.

It must have worked, I never got much in the way of junk mail when his mail was being forwarded to me. Just one thing from AARP, addressed to my mom at my home address, asking why she hadn't renewed. She died ten years ago.

Northster
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Northster » Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:09 pm

I find the most difficult to shake are the age-based mailings. Many states sell drivers license databases, so in a computer out there somewhere is your name connected to your age. My sister died 14 years ago and would have recently turned 65. All of a sudden I am getting mailings for her regarding Medicare and other senior-related topics. It may be impossible to totally root out this stuff. It's on the market and privacy laws are, in my view, woefully inadequate.

mouses
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mouses » Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:24 pm

Northster wrote:I find the most difficult to shake are the age-based mailings. Many states sell drivers license databases, so in a computer out there somewhere is your name connected to your age. My sister died 14 years ago and would have recently turned 65. All of a sudden I am getting mailings for her regarding Medicare and other senior-related topics. It may be impossible to totally root out this stuff. It's on the market and privacy laws are, in my view, woefully inadequate.
Same thing with telemarketers. They think every Senior is an idiot. Unfortunately, they probably catch enough people with these scams to make it worthwhile.

HIinvestor
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:49 pm

We still get junk mail from the prior renter and the guy who sold us our house over 25 years ago! I'm amazed at the persistence. Fortunately, H does enjoy the landscaping magazine the former tenant receives.

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Ice-9
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Ice-9 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:33 pm

Well, as a living person, I had pretty good luck with this app called PaperKarma: https://www.paperkarma.com/

I spent about three months submitting on my phone each piece of junk mail that arrived in the mailbox. All the catalogs and general ads stopped, but it doesn't work for non-profits etc. I haven't used the app for a year now, and the ones we submitted have still stopped. I assume it would work just as well with a deceased person.

crit
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by crit » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:23 pm


likegarden
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by likegarden » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:09 pm

Junk mail does not do much to us. We walk / drive from the mailbox into the garage, then by the recycle can and in goes all the junk mail right there, also ad sheets from the newspaper.

white_water
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by white_water » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:01 pm

Some bulk mailers buy the cheapest mail lists. The cheapest lists aren't updated for change of address, death, etc. My late father was on many sucker lists for spurious charities. My guess is they buy each other's list as the name format was identical on several sucker lists complete with misspellings.

Lexi's technique of opening up a PO Box for the decedent's mail then closing it w/o a forwarding address is a good one.

mp59mm
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by mp59mm » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:49 pm

These 2 steps worked for me.
  • Google search each return address for each mail item and send them an email via their contacts web page. Explain the person is deceased, you have registered on the DMA webiste but still get mail. How dis-trot you are to still get mail addressed to your dead loved one.
I used this approach and it worked. It was a lot of effort but it was worth it. I noticed many of these companies share the same databases, thus you will see a dramatic drop in about 3 month, then stay after it for the stranglers and you will get the result you want.

My plan B was going to be using a hand written change of address form at the post office and have all deceased mail sent to my congressman's address. If you decide to deploy this option, make sure the estate is settled before you change the address. Note: Change of address at the post office automatically rolls out to the junk mail marketeers. I know this to be a fact. It's total BS but thats how the system is built.

Also, DO NOT write deceased or return to sender. The post office wont send back junk mail, it cost them too much to do it. My postal inspector told me this fact. Lastly, don't send back the self stamp envelopes with Deceased inside, I tried that first an the junk mail actually increased.

I hope this helps you.

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Kuckie
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Kuckie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:33 pm

I had the same problem even after notifying the senders (mostly magazine companies) and the Postal Service. Finally I sent a new change of address to the cemetery where she currently resides. Never heard from them again

dknightd
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by dknightd » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:38 pm

Kuckie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:33 pm
I had the same problem even after notifying the senders (mostly magazine companies) and the Postal Service. Finally I sent a new change of address to the cemetery where she currently resides. Never heard from them again
Very clever !

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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:42 pm

mouses wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:54 am
Leeraar wrote:Is there a reply paid envelope?

Take the original mail, stuff it in the reply envelope, and send it all back to them.

L.
I think this may not work. I don't think the company collecting donations or whatever is necessarily telling the soliciters when they get envelopes of trash.
I always do this. It costs them money
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unclescrooge
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:02 pm

mouses wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:31 pm
RadAudit wrote:Change the mailing address to the cemetery? :happy
I realize there's a missing sarcasm emoticon, but don't think of doing this. Cemeteries have enough problems with vandalism and etc. without getting everyone's junk mail.
I've actually thought of spending a dollar and using the online USPS form to redirect mail addressed to prior occupants to a public official's address. Should be good for a laugh!

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leeks
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by leeks » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:23 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:08 am

If you ever move addresses, do not use USPS's "permanent" forwarding service (up to one year), as USPS will sell this information to the marketing folks. You can use USPS's "temporary" service, even if yours is a permanent move, so that USPS thinks you haven't moved. You can update the address for your banks and other accounts on your own without USPS's help. USPS is the main culprit of junk mail following people around due to mail forwarding service, so this is important.
This is an important tip. Never use permanent USPS forwarding. We have done this for our last few moves and our junk mail is now next-to-nothing. We put in a 6-month temporary forwarding (the max) and at the end of that extend for another 6 months. That's an entire year to catch any people/companies that still have the old address.

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TimeRunner
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by TimeRunner » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:41 pm

We're still receiving charity solicitations after two years for a deceased relative who apparently gave small donations (e.g. $20/year) to veteran groups and especially animal welfare charities. This mail far exceeds our own mail (since we have opted out of paper documents). It provides a panoply of small items, some useless (personalized note cards in the name of the deceased), and some useful (garden gloves, notepads, etc). It has been quite an eye-opener to look at the methods used by these charities to extract donations through heart-breaking stories ("abused draft horses need food now") and guilt ("are you enjoying your pen we sent you", "this quarter coin can start a whole new life for..."). We've contacted some charities, but they seem to swap mailing lists faster than they remove names. Such a waste of time, money, and materials, sigh.
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Trism
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by Trism » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:43 pm

Talbot's is still mailing catalogs to our address for the former owner's deceased mother.

SimonJester
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by SimonJester » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:27 am

dknightd wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:38 pm
Kuckie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:33 pm
I had the same problem even after notifying the senders (mostly magazine companies) and the Postal Service. Finally I sent a new change of address to the cemetery where she currently resides. Never heard from them again
Very clever !
Not so sure, my wife just received a very import document 8 years after her father passed. Addressed in his name to our address, we had put in a change of address for him after he passed as well. Turned out to be a refund check from an account we did not know even existed...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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F150HD
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Re: How to stop junk mail for a deceased person

Post by F150HD » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:19 am

92irish wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:47 pm
There can be some good deals...

My grandmother died a couple years ago at 98 and every couple months she still gets a coupon for a free pair of panties at Victoria Secrets. My wife takes the coupon and pretends to be my grandmother.

I like to joke with her and ask if she is wearing granny underpants that day. A whole new meaning to the phrase :) .
this is an absurdly creepy post. LOL :P

It would get only creepier if after wearing them your wife started selling them online for a profit.

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