Are you one of the many people who are annoyed by a constant barrage of pre-approved credit offers? If so, you'll be glad to know there is a solution to the problem.
Most of the companies sending you these offers are getting your name from one of the three major credit bureaus. Fortunately, they are not getting the details from your credit file. But they do know that you fit into the criteria they gave to the credit bureau. For example, they may have asked for everyone who lives in your county who is between the ages of 35 and 50 and owns their home. The credit bureau provides (for a fee, of course) the list of names and addresses that meet the criteria, but not the actual credit reports.
You can opt to have your name removed from these pre-approved offers by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). This service is provided by the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. One phone call will remove your name from pre-approved offer lists at all three credit bureaus. You will have to provide your Social Security number, as that is how they will identify you. The automated call will give you a choice to opt out for five years or permanently. If you want to opt out permanently, they will send you a form to complete, sign, and return. You can also go to their website: www.optoutprescreen.com to have your name removed. Since I opted out permanently years ago, I rarely receive these types of offers.
These steps won't stop pre-approved offers entirely, though. The reason is that some of the offers you are getting are not run through the credit bureaus. Some are sent to you directly from a company's own mailing list, for example, offers from an airline when you are a member of their mileage program. Others result when a company purchases a mailing list from somewhere other than the credit bureaus, such as a magazine subscription list. For these offers, you can contact the company directly to be removed.
You can also reduce other mail and telephone solicitations by registering with the Direct Marketing Association's choice program: https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/home.action. You will have to create an account at their secure site and provide your email address, name, and address, but they do not ask for other personal information. You can choose to stop receiving catalogs, magazines and other types of "junk" mail. However, companies you already have a business relationship with may continue to send you mailings. You'll have to contact those companies directly if you wish to be removed from their lists. If you want to receive mail from certain companies, you can also customize your choices within the categories on your account.
According to their website, the DMA Choice program can reduce mail volume by up to 80 percent. Their site also includes an email preference service, an option to add a name to their "deceased, do not contact" list, and an option to add a name of your dependent to their "do not contact list for caretakers."
If you would like to learn more about financial management, contact us for information about our Managing Your Money series, which is offered continually in localities throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley. A new series starts in Berryville on June 25. Call me at 540-459-6140, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call your local office of Virginia Cooperative Extension. You can download a copy of the registration flyer at the following url: http://offices.ext.vt.edu/shenandoah/programs/fcs/Files/Managing_Your_Money_Series_Spring_2012_Flyer.pdf