How to Opt-Out of Prescreened Credit & Insurance Offers
Many companies that solicit new credit card accounts and insurance policies use prescreening to identify potential customers for the products they offer. Prescreened offers (sometimes called “preapproved” offers) are based on information in your credit report. Unless you “Opt-Out”, your personal information is widely shared among companies to inundate you (and your mailbox) with applications and offers for their various financial products.
Reminder: Free Credit Freeze
As we discussed in a previous blog post, “Free Credit Freeze”, you can freeze your credit reports free of charge to prevent potential fraudulent applications for credit and reduce the risk of identity theft. However, if you choose to do this, you will need to temporarily unfreeze your reports when applying for any new forms of credit.
An additional way to prevent identity theft by reducing the sharing of your information is by opting out of all pre-screened credit and insurance offers. By doing so, lenders and insurance companies are prohibited from providing unsolicited offers to you. You may still receive offers from companies (and their subsidiaries and affiliates) where you already have accounts.
In addition to information privacy benefits, you will notice a significant reduction in junk mail filling up your mailbox. A potential downside to opting out is that you will no longer receive offers that may be better than your current credit cards, loans, and insurance policies; however, you can easily find available offers online or by working with a trusted financial advisor for recommendations.
How to Opt-Out
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a helpful overview of what prescreened credit and insurance offers are along with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and links to helpful resources HERE.
1.) If you choose to Opt Out, the primary way is to prohibit sharing from the major credit bureaus. OptOutPrescreen.com is a collaboration between Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion allowing you to opt out of receiving solicitations by mail. You can easily opt out for 5 years by completing their online form electronically, or you can print and mail a form to be permanently excluded. Both the 5-year and permanent options are available by clicking the button at the bottom of the OptOutPrescreen.com home page.
2.) Outside of the OptOutPresceen.com joint venture among the major reporting agencies, SageStream is another entity that collects and shares your credit information. To be removed for 5 years, simply complete their electronic form HERE. To be removed permanently, you will need to fill out, sign, and date their Permanent Opt-Out form HERE and either fax or mail using the instructions provided.
Remember, each request only applies to an individual person. Spouses, significant others, adult children, etc. will need to complete their own request(s) to be removed even if they reside at the same address.
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