Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Go Green--Opt-Out from receiving Pre-Approved offers of credit

by Heather Wells (Recovery Advocate)

What do you do with all of those pre-approved offers from Capital One, Chase, and Citibank that you receive in the mail everyday? All of those tempting offers for shiny new credit cards…. Well, if you’re lucky, you actually see them and they didn’t get stolen from your mailbox by an ID thief and turned into actual lines of credit. Identity thieves often wander through neighborhoods looking for unattended mailboxes where they can easily find a treasure trove of people’s personal information. If the thieves intercept some pre-approved credit offers they can spend the rest of their time wandering through a shopping mall (at the expense of your good name and credit).

Check out this video from a local Colorado news report:

But there’s another reason besides ID Theft that those pre-approved offers of credit are bad for all of us. According the US Postal Department, over 1 million pieces of standard mail (bulk-advertisements) were processed last year alone. That’s a lot of junk mail!! That’s a lot of trees, too!!

To opt-out of receiving offers of credit in the mail for five years call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). It will take about 5 minutes of your time to do it. You will be asked to provide your Social Security Number and other identifying personal information. When calling, you will also be given the option to opt-out permanently or to opt-in (if you are so inclined). Even though your request becomes effective within five days, you may not see an immediate reduction in the amount of offers you receive. This is because your name may have already been provided to some companies that have not yet mailed their offers to you. If you continue to see the offers pour in even after several months, call and opt-out again. I would recommend calling to opt-out rather than doing it online for security reasons. It will reduce your chances of ending up at a fake website set up in order to obtain your personal information and use it for fraudulent purposes.

So, go green AND reduce your risk of becoming a victim of Identity Theft by making one simple phone call to 1-888-5OPTOUT.


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