“Opt-out” of Prescreened Offers
Federal law allows credit bureaus to sell (to creditors and insurance companies) lists of people who have been “prescreened.” This may result in credit card offers and other mailings.
You may opt-out of “prescreened” offers from the four major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion) permanently or for a period of five years by phone, online, or in writing.
To opt-out of “prescreened” offers permanently, visit www.optoutprescreen.com. When initiating the opt-out process online, choose the option “Permanent Opt-Out by Mail.” After you complete and submit your request online, you will be provided with a “Permanent Opt-Out Election” form. You must sign and return this form by mail to complete your permanent opt-out request. If you do not return the signed form, your request will only be effective for only five years.
Opt-out by Phone
To opt-out permanently by phone, call (888) 567-8688 ((888) 5-OPTOUT) and press “3” when prompted. You will be asked to provide personal information, including your name, home telephone number, date of birth, and Social Security number. Under federal law, the information you provide is confidential and used only to process your opt-out request.
Opt-out in Writing
To opt-out permanently in writing, send a letter detailing your request to do so to each of the four major consumer reporting agencies. When you opt-out in writing, the credit reporting agencies ask that you include your full name, address, home phone number, date of birth, Social Security number, and signature.
You may send written opt-out requests to the credit reporting agencies as follows:
Innovis Consumer Assistance
Opt-out requests must be processed in five business days, but it may take up to 60 days before you stop receiving prescreened offers.
“Opt-out” of Company Mailing Lists
Companies you do business with may send you solicitations, or sell or trade your name and address, unless you ask them not to do so. To limit the sharing of your information, you may write to companies you do business with and ask them to put you on their “do-not-mail” lists. Although it takes time to write such letters, doing so the first time a company sends you unwanted mail may help limit the unwanted mail you receive from it.
“Opt-out” with the Data & Marketing Association
The Data & Marketing Association (“DMA”) is a private trade organization that represents 1,400 organizations involved in direct and database marketing. You may opt out of receiving mail from DMA member organizations for a period of five years.
Opt-out with DMA Online
To opt-out online, visit www.dmachoice.org. You may request to stop receiving mail from four different categories (credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers) or from specific companies within each category. The DMA does not charge a fee when you opt-out online.
Opt-out with DMA in Writing
To opt-out in writing, send a letter to the DMA that includes your opt-out request, along with your full name, mailing address, and telephone number. You must include a check or money order payable to “Data & Marketing Association” in the amount of $1. You may mail written opt-out requests to the DMA as follows:
Data & Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
DMA indicates that it may take up to 90 days for opt-out requests to take effect.
"Opt-out" of Unwanted Charitable Solicitations
Charities, and the professional fundraisers they employ, also exchange lists of donors with one another. By following the above steps, you may remove your name from some, but not all, of these lists. You may further reduce charitable mailings by writing a short note to each organization that solicits you asking it to remove you from its list and not exchange your name, address, and giving history with anyone else.
Ignore Mail from Scam Artists and Criminals
The mailings scam artists and criminals send to people run the gamut—from sweepstakes promotions to lotteries to “fortune tellers” to “fright” mail designed to scare the recipient to send money. It can be hard to stop mail from scam artists and criminals because they often operate from another country, have no regard for the law, and do not honor requests to be removed from their mailing lists.
If you or a loved one have become the victim of mail fraud, you should file a complaint with the United States Postal Inspection Service. You may file a complaint online by visiting www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov and clicking on the "file a complaint" link under the "Contact Us" tab. You may also file a complaint as follows:
United States Postal Inspection Service
Criminal Investigations Service Center
1745 Stout Street, Suite 900
Denver, CO 80299-3034
Unwanted Credit Card Offers
Have you received unwanted credit card offers in the mail stating that you have been "preapproved" for credit or insurance? Unfortunately, federal law allows national credit bureaus to sell so called "prescreened lists" to creditors and insurance companies, who then use the information to make unsolicited offers to consumers. Keep reading to learn how to "opt out" of receiving such offers and having your information sold by the credit bureaus.
What You Can Do About Junk Email
Spammers send up to 100 million junk emails a day. Spam emails are not only a nuisance but can damage your computer and allow an attacker access to your private and financial information.
Reducing Unwanted Calls and Mail
The Attorney General’s Office offers the following tips for reducing telemarketing calls and unwanted mail, including placing your number on the National Do Not Call List and how to "opt out" of mailing lists.