Most of us get all sorts of unsolicited junk mail that either ends up in the shredder or is ripped in half and thrown in the trash can without ever being looked at. All of this junk mail is printed and mailed at the cost of trees, is a bit of an inconvenience and puts you at a greater risk to become a victim of identity theft. Fortunately, the companies that send out these unsolicited pieces of commercial mail recognize that there are some people that absolutely do not want their advertisements and have provided consumers a way to opt out of getting unwanted junk mail.
One of the many ways that banks and finance companies get your personal information to market credit cards, home equity loans, and other financial products to you is from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. This is the junk mail that you should be most worried about. If an identity thief got a hold of a credit card application sent to you, they could potentially open a new account in your name, drive up a large bill, and you might not know about it for up to a year.
The three major credit bureaus have setup a website called www.OptOutPreScreen.com which you can register on to stop your personal information from being sold to banks and finance companies. This means that you will no longer get unwanted credit card applications in the mail and reduce the likelihood of you getting identity theft. If you would rather call a phone number than fill out the form on their website, you can call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. You will be asked for your social security number, but it’s okay to give this information to them because they need it to identity you.
You can stop most of the other mail that you receive by contacting the Direct Marketing Association. This is a group of various companies that send out commercial paper mail. This is primarily the publisher’s clearing house type of mail that you get. Typically these are offers for music and DVD-purchasing clubs and various types of contest that anyone can enter. They’re less of a risk for identity theft, but it’s something that most people would rather avoid all together. Their website, www.dmachoice.org, let’s you opt out of commercial marketing mailing lists, as well as certain commercial e-mail marketing lists.
It’s definitely worth to opt out on both of these sites, the process only takes about five to ten minutes for each one, and it will eliminate the vast majority of the commercial postal mail that you receive.