ESTATE PLANNING NEWS & ARTICLES
5 Ways to Stop Unwanted Contact After a Family Member Dies
A couple of weeks ago, I read a post about a handful of Facebook Friends who had lost spouses and had contact by phone and email for sales offers in their spouses’ names recently. The comments told a tale of companies who had been told repeatedly to remove the decedents name from the list and yet the women were STILL they were being contacted. Sadly, not every company behaves scrupulously. I set out to see what could be done to help alleviate this practice. Surely there had to be some way to notify companies so they recognize how disrespectful, painful and jolting this practice is to surviving spouses and children and stop it completely. I offered to investigate what could be done and have found the following resources:
The Deceased Do Not Call Registry (DDNC)
This FREE list was created by the Direct Marketing Association in 2005. When you register a name with DDNC, the person’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address is placed on a special DO NOT CONTACT file. All DMA members are required to eliminate these individuals from their prospecting campaigns. The service is also available to non-members of DMA so that all marketers may take advantage of this service to eliminate names. A new, updated file is distributed to members at least once every three months. Therefore, the number of commercial contacts from DMA members should begin to decrease within three months. Relatives are encouraged to register the information about deceased individual as soon as possible. Here is the link: https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php
USPS also recommends using the DDNC (above), but if you need to forward the deceased’s mail to a different address, you must file a request at your local Post Office. You will need to: 1. Provide valid proof that you are the appointed executor or administrator and authorized to manage the deceased person’s mail. 2. Complete a change of address form at a Post Office location.
The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry’s Opt-Out Program
If you get tons of credit offers and want them to stop, you can request just that through OptOutPrescreen.com. The service works with all the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax and Innovis) and you can use it to opt out of credit offers for 5 years or permanently—or opt back in if you decide you’d like to receive them again.
National Do Not Call Registry
Most of know to register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams, especially if they tell you that registration expires. It never does. You can also use this website to register complaints against companies who violate the terms of the registry.
Unroll.Me is a free online service that allows you to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Once you sign up for an account, Unroll.Me will show you all of your subscription emails, and you can stop the ones you don’t want to receive. You can also condense the ones you do want to keep getting into one email using the company’s “Rollup” feature. All the important subscriptions then come in one easy digest email.
What I did find unfortunately is that there is no one fool proof way (other than maybe changing to an unlisted number) to stop being contacted by marketers who do not follow the legitimate rules of engagement. However, using a combination of these resources should make a sizeable dent in contact. And if more folks report those companies whose practices are less than savory, perhaps one day we can eliminate them as well. If we can be of assistance, please feel free to contact us.