Junk mail is big business and it can create a big mess. It's not just the unwanted paper clutter it brings into your home, but the chaos it can cause in your financial life. All those pre-approved credit card and loan offers sitting unattended in your mailbox are potential gateways to identity theft. If you don't shred those offers before tossing them in the garbage, a dumpster diver could end up trashing your credit rating.
Credit Reporting Agencies routinely sell your information to businesses offering credit or insurance products using a method called prescreening. Marketers verify your potential eligibility from the information they obtain. Companies make the argument that these offers benefit consumers by alerting them to products that fit their needs. More often they are alerting you to products you don't need.
The type of information companies receive is limited to your name, address, a unique identifier, which can be part of your social security number, and other financial data relative to the product they are selling. Your actual credit score is not released, but companies can estimate your score and verify your credit worthiness by the way these requests are made.
Prescreening occurs in two ways. A company or third party vender requests lists of consumers who meet an established criteria, which could include people with a credit score above 700 within a certain zip code, or they can request information about specific people from a list they already process.
Even though marketing derived from prescreening is required to include instructions on how to opt-out, more than 50% of people who received these offers did not know the option was available. This is probably the result of people throwing away mail they never opened or only glanced at for a few seconds. If it's junk, why read it?
The website optoutprescreen.com is maintained by the consumer reporting agencies that sell your information. You can use the website to opt out for a period of 5 years.
Please note, the online form defaults to Opt In, so be sure to change it before proceeding. Permanently opting out requires that you mail in your request. The Permanent Opt Out Election Form can be obtained from the site.
Using optoutprescreen.com is quick and easy, but not the only way to opt out. You can also phone 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or send notice by mail.
Eliminating prescreened offers will not eliminate all junk mail. It will only stop mail from the financial and insurance companies who utilize prescreening.
Tab browsing is the easiest way to view and open the links in this article. Simply right click on a link and select "open a new tab.". This will open the web page in a separate tab while keeping this page open. It's a great way to view multiple sites at once.
For additional information about stopping junk mail read my articles, Mail Preference Service DMA Choice Stop Junk Mail and Cancel Unwanted Catalogs Stop Junk Mail.