Opt Out Of Personal Offers

Chances are you receive a lot of personal credit card offers, and if you're not actually in the market for a new credit card, then these offers aren't of much use to you. However, with enough information, a thief can use a credit card offer sent to you to open a new account in your name. This is a particularly dangerous situation for individuals whose personal information is closely tied to their businesses. One way to reduce the chances of this type of theft is to opt out of credit card offers.

Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion) offer a consolidated service that lets individuals opt out of pre-approved and pre-screened credit card and insurance offers mailed to your home. You may opt out either permanently or for five years. The five-year opt out process can be completed online. The permanent opt out process can be started online and is completed by mail.

When opting out, you'll be asked to provide certain personal information, including your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and is only used to fulfill your request. Visit optoutprescreen.com for more information or to opt out.

You can also take the process a step further. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) provides a Mail Preference Service that allows you to get some types of commercial mail while stopping others. The DMA separates mail into four categories: credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail offers.

It's up to you to decide what you do and do not want for each category. Within each category you can choose whether you want mail from specific companies or organizations or you can choose that you do not want offers from companies or organizations you have not conducted business with within the last year. Your choices then remain in effect for five years unless you change them. For more information or to register, visit dmachoice.org.

By limiting the offers you receive, you limit an identity thief's chances of responding to a solicitation on your behalf, and you save a few trees in the process.