Saturday, September 03, 2005

Reduce Identity Theft using your Prescreen Opt Out Right

Prescreened offers of credit or insurance sometimes
called "preapproved" offers - are sent to consumers
unsolicited, usually by mail on an irregular schedule.
They are based on information in a consumer's credit
report that indicates the individuals receiving the
offer meet the criteria set by the company making
the offer.

As a result, an identity thief can steal your
"preapproved" offer from your mailbox, call the lender
to accept the offer and then start spending using your
good name and credit. Your reward will be to receive
credit card bills for goods you never purchased.

So it's a good idea to opt out from receiving these
offers to substantially reduce your risk of becoming
an identity theft victim. You can always still apply
for credit any time you feel it's necessary. The
prescreen opt out does not impact your credit rating
in anyway.

The opt out right has been available for quite some
time. However, it wasn't always very easy for
consumers to find or understand how to take action.
That's why effective August 1, 2005, the FTC mandated
all lenders must provide a simple & easy to understand
notice that explains consumers' right to opt out of
receiving future offers.

You can opt out of receiving them for five years or
opt out of receiving them permanently. Call toll-free
1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit for details. The telephone
number and website are operated by the major consumer
credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union.

The information you provide is confidential and will
be used only to process your request to opt out.
You may choose to opt out for five years or
permanently, and may opt back in at any time by
calling the same toll free number listed above.

Special note, if you hold any joint credit
relationships, like a mortgage or a car loan with a
spouse, partner, or other adult, you may continue to
receive some prescreened solicitations until both of
you exercise your opt-out right.

You can forward today's id theft prevention tip using
our "email this post" feature (looks like an small
envelope with a black arrow on it)to your wife or any
others you hold joint credit accounts with.

Bookmark our site or subscribe to the RSS feeds
options (see right hand panel) for more important
notices on how you can opt out of other marketing
lists as part of your strategy to reduce, prevent, or
protect you from identity theft.

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