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Contact 7: How to get off the "suckers list" and cut down on junk mail

Scammers use lists to target vulnerable population
Posted at 7:29 AM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 09:29:27-04

Nobody likes to think of themselves as a "sucker" who will fall for anything. But a CNN investigation found unscrupulous data brokers are selling information to scammers, who then target people more likely to succumb to mail fraud or another scheme.

Those people may be on a "suckers list," a registry of people who have been successfully solicited in the past. You could end up on this list if you have done something innocent like donate to a charity, or buy something from a mail order catalog.

To keep yourself off a "suckers list," you should start by finding out if a charity you donate to sells your information to any third parties.

That first step is simple, but the rest may take more leg work.

The World Privacy Forum maintains a list of data brokers and links to opt out directly. Unfortunately, not all data brokers allow you to opt out.

The Data and Marketing Association also allows you to remove your name from mailing lists. It costs $2 to sign up for the service.

These tools should make you less of a target for scammers, and can help cut down on the junk mail you receive.

You should report outright scams to the FTC or the Colorado Attorney General's Office.