What to do to stop phone and mail advertisements

The Christmas presents frenzy is starting during this time of year all over the world. Most of the shops are making the equivalent of their year to date revenue in these weeks before Christmas. So, it makes sense for them to have a good planned online advertisement strategy. This is the reason why you are assaulted by ads and crazy promotions these days.

In order to get rid of the online ads you should use the AdBlockPlus browser extension. If you don’t want webshops to track you, you should install a browser tracking blocker like Do Not Track Me.

But it doesn’t stop here… Ads are following you outside of the virtual world.

In order to reach those that don’t really visit the webshop but prefer more to buy from printed brochures, you will see your postal box also full with advertisements. I assume that the response rate for this is extremely low and the costs to produce them very high, because the companies don’t stop here. Starting with beginning of November, each year, there are large telephone advertisement campaigns. Somebody pretending to call in the name of a large company calls you with a story like:

– you received a big discount and you should make use of it because it expires soon – you won to some kind of prize to some lottery but you must pay the delivery costs – because you are such a good customer, you get something for free if you buy something else or if you pay the delivery costs – and many, many others.


What can you do against phone and mail spam?

Phone advertisements


First of all, listen good to what the person is saying when they are presenting themselves and write down the name of the company from which you no longer want to get ads


Remain calm and don’t hang up and don’t yell to the person speaking to you. Remember that he/she is just doing his/her job. Somebody else paid them to call you. Speak calm :

Please stop calling me. I no longer wish to receive these advertisements phone calls from you and from your affiliates. (it is very important to mention the affiliates)

If you are at the end of your relationship with that company you can try to ask them to remove your customer profile from their database. Note that this doesn’t always work because the person calling you is usually receiving a big list with phone numbers and doesn’t have access to the account system. – Make sure that the person on the phone confirms that they removed you.

If even after this you still get calls, try to contact the shop directly. See below how you can address this at “Additional measures”.

If even after this you can’t get this stopped, then your only solutions are:

– block the phone number if your router/phone allows this

– issues a formal complain to the Customer Center of that company

– issue a formal complain to the Customer Protection.


Postal advertisements


This is more complicated and it requires more work from your side.


Unfair, I know since you never opted in for any of this. Ideally, you receive ads because you opted at some point in time for them even if you didn’t know anything about it. Remember to always read the full document when you sign for something.

So, the unsubscribe process applies to this case as it did for the phone ads. If you have a customer account to that shop (or publication) then login there and check for “communication settings” or something similar. There you have usually three options:

– email communication

– phone communication / SMS communication

– post communication

You may want to unselect all of them.


Additional measures

If you don’t have an account, then look on the website for a contact address and write them an email containing this information:

– Your name

– Email address

– Address where you receive the communication

– Telephone numbers where you get the calls

Write specifically that you don’t want to be called anymore.

Sometimes it even helps to write from which number you get the calls.


What to do if you don’t know who is calling you

If you just see in your phone/router that there is an unknown number that keeps calling you and it is suspicious, try to search it on Google. There are many portals which collect such numbers which call just to sell you something. This may give you an indication who is calling you so that you can start the process of getting removed from their lists.



This is a chapter in Improve your Security free eBook. Get it from here: http://improve-your-security.org/book/

All these and many more topics are in the free eBook "Improve your security" available here: www.improve-your-security.org.

About the Author

Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since 2000 in the IT Security industry and until 2014 for Avira as Product Manager, where he was responsible for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Serving the security needs of so many different users made him think that there are other ways of to help the users: teachning them about security.

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