How many times a week do you say; “Why are these people sending me this”? “Where did they get my information”? “How do I stop getting all of this unwanted junk mail”? There are several ways to reduce your junk mail and at the same time protect your identity.
What Can You Do To Stop Receiving Pre-Screened Offers?
1. Register with the Do-Not-Call Registry.
Call 1-888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 1-866-290-4236) or visit the Registry’s website at http://www.donotcall.gov . If you receive an unsolicited call after you have been registered for more than 31 days you can file a complaint. Make sure you have the caller’s company name, the telephone number of the company and the date and the time the company called you.
2. Opt-Out of Pre-Approved/Pre-Screened Offers.
Opting-out allows you to remove your name from lists supplied by the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies (the credit bureaus), Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion, to be used for pre-approved or prescreened offers for credit or insurance. You are allowed to Opt-out for 5 years or permanently under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
How to Opt-Out: Visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) you will be asked to provide personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only process your request to opt-out.
Here Are 10 Steps to Avoid Identity Theft
- Take your name off of trigger lists – Opt-out of pre-approved/pre-screened offers of credit and insurance – see section on Opting Out
- When you are presented with a pre-approved/pre-screened offer over the phone, exercise caution. Ask how they got your information, what company they are with, ask them to forward the information to you in writing
- Avoid being rushed or pressured into a decision.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you recycle or discard them.
- Watch out for the “bait-and-switch” game. This game is run by companies who get business by offering low rates and then switching products.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails, do not respond to: You’ve Won the Euro Lottery, do not respond to emails from foreign countries telling you they have $50 Billion Dollars to give you.
- When you receive mail or a phone call that appears to be from your current mortgage company, car insurance company, etc. always confirm who you are speaking with and the company they represent.
- Protect your pin numbers, passwords, date of birth or mother’s maiden name. Do not leave this information lying around your home or office.
- Most importantly protect your Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN is the key to your identity. Do not carry your SS card in your wallet or write you SSN on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary. Most health insurance companies have moved away from using your SSN as your insurance ID number, if your company has not done so contact them and request that they do.
- Don’t use obvious passwords like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, your child’s name, or your address.
A few small steps to protect yourself can save you hundreds of hours trying to fix, explain, and get documentation to prove that you were a victim of a crime. Don’t be a victim of identity theft, stop the process before it starts!