They come in stuffed envelopes or telemarketing calls, credit offers promising low annual percentage rates and dream financing. Some people assure they’re a sign of “good credit” or a shot at a better card. But for many of us, these credit card solicitations are just spam. How do we stop them?
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you think. Here are a few ways to squash those offers for good and why doing so may help your credit score.
A Perk of Opting Out
Opting out could reduce the likelihood of fraud. If someone obtained some of your personal information, like a Social Security number, and got a hold of a pre-approved offer from your mailbox, they could potentially open the account in your name. If you have reason to believe your identity has been compromised, you can monitor your credit for fraudulent accounts. You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year on AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.
Two Ways to Opt Out
For prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you can choose to opt out for five years or opt out permanently, according to the Federal Trade Commission. It’s up to you.
To opt out for five years, call 888-567-8688 (888-5-OPT-OUT) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. You’ll be asked to provide your Social Security number and date of birth, but don’t worry — the information will be kept confidential and only used to process your request to opt out.
To opt out permanently, visit www.optoutprescreen.com to begin the process.
Put It in Writing
Limited access to the Internet? No problem, just write one of the major credit reporting companies. Here are their addresses:
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
Other Ways to Opt Out
Short of calling old institutions you used to do business with or asking your current credit provider to lay off the junk mail, you can contact the following:
For telemarketers, register your number at www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222. The calls should start to taper off within 31 days of registering, the FTC says.
For mail, visit dmachoice.org, the Direct Marketing Association’s website. While this won’t stop mailings from companies that don’t use its service, your name will be put on a “delete” file, which should cut down a lot of the junk mail. You can also contact the DMA in writing:
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
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