Stopping Pre Approved Credit Card Offers

September 19, 2005
misc

Those of you that know me personally know that I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy. There are a few things that really annoy me - traffic, and junk mail. I'm not talking about electronic junk mail, that does annoy me but I keep it under control pretty well with SpamAssassin - I'm talking about physical junk mail.

For some reason I get a lot of it, especially those pre approvied credit card offers. I noticed recently that they have a notice on them now that allow you to opt out by calling 1-888-OPT-OUT.

This service is a joint venture between the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies - Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion. They sell your contact information to credit card companies and insurance companies.

The phone call

Being as fed up as I am, I called the number this morning. The phone system is completly automated. And the conversation when something like this:

Would you like to opt out of pre screened credit and insurance offers?
I'm waiting for a menu...
...
Me: YES!
I'm sorry I did not understand your response.
Would you like to opt out of pre screened credit and insurance offers?
Me: YES!
I'm sorry I did not understand your response.
Hang up

I gave up quickly because they also mentioned on the phone that you can opt out online at www.optoutprescreen.com

The web site

The web site makes it pretty easy to opt out. They do however ask for your address, phone, date of birth, and social security number. That's quite a bit of personal information just to opt-out.

The web site also has a link to the Direct Marketers Association Consumer Assistance page from there you can remove your name from mailing lists, and telemarketing lists. You can opt out for free by sending them a letter or postcard with your name, address and signature to:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512 

But if you want to do this online they charge you a $5 processing fee, because we all know that it's much easier for them to enter the data into thier computer manually.

Now if I can only get AOL to stop sending me those tins.



16 people found this page useful, what do you think?

Comments

I like the tins...great for target practice.
Have you done a whois on www.optoutprescreen.com? I did a quick lookup on Network solutions and it's owned by Domains by Proxy. If they were on the up and up, why wouldn't they have registered under an non-anonymous entry. No real way to find out who actually owns the site. I'd be a little cautious before I'd enter my social security number on as part of the prescreen. I'd probably trust it more if it was somehow tied into a .gov address or other official entitity. the Registrant: Domains by Proxy, Inc. DomainsByProxy.com 15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 United States
The domain proxy thing is a bit fishy. But the domain was given out when I called the number, and that phone number is listed on Equifax's web site. Also the SSL certificate they are using has "Consumer Data Industry Association" listed as the organization. To be safe I'd probably use the phone number.
This site is also mentioned in this article on MSN: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8827007/
Here in the UK we have two services run by the government regulators for postal services and also for telephone services. one is called the mail preference service, the other is the telephone preference service. You can register for free and hey presto no more cold calls or junk mail. None. Not even any of those stupid yes you've won £10 million just send us £64 to process your claim bits of garbage. Only applies inside the UK of course but what a great idea.
To remove AOL Tins from mails see http://www.obviously.com/junkmail/ AOL (America On-Line): You could pave the nation with the free discs these people send out, call 1-800-605-4297 (24 hours a day) to get off the list. Tell them your first name is "current", last name "resident".
1-888-567-8688 is the number to opt out and works. The option to opt out for 5yrs or forever. It is reported to the big four Credit Agencies. ...or write to Equifax Credit Info Services PO Box 740123 Atlanta, GA 30374-0123 Experian PO Box 919 Allen, TX 75013 TransUnion PO Box 97328 Jackson, MS 39288-7328
What bothers me about the 1.888.opt.out service is when you call it requires you to give your entire 9-digit social security number! How in the world can anyone feel comfortable giving that info to an automated system over the phone??? I can see perhaps asking for the last 4 digits of the SSN to verify identity, but NOBODY should have to give that personal number to anyone. I'd rather deal with the hassle of the unsolicited mail than to stress every day about what these folks are doing with my social security number...
If you don't want to give your SS number you don't have to. Just wait and let the system prompts try to capture the information twice. If it cannot "hear" you SSN, it will move on to the next and final question (your birth date). If it cannot "hear" your birth date, it will still attempt to remove your name from the list. However, I would say that if you a "John Smith" you might want to help the system remove your information by providing more specific information.

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