I hear from people all the time who are concerned about the preapproved credit offers they get in the mail. They want to know who is looking at their credit and how companies are accessing their information. They’re worried about mail fraud and someone committing identity theft after swiping their mail.
All valid concerns, but these prescreened or preapproved credit offers exist for a reason. Some consumers really do want to be marketed to, and they want to see all the best deals and offers out there.
For the consumers who don’t want to receive these offers, you can choose to “opt out.” When you opt out, you remove yourself from the lists that credit card companies and lenders use to extend preapproved credit offers.
How to Opt Out
You may also send your request in writing to:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
TransUnion Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
Include your complete name, full address, Social Security number, and signature. Equifax will remove your name from its preapproved offer database and share your request with the other two nationwide credit-reporting agencies.
Sure, but sometimes it can take a little time for your request to work its way through the system. Opt-out requests can cross paths with outgoing lists. If a list already went out with your name on it, you might receive a few offers before the list you’ve been removed from goes out.
Why You Might Be Contacted After Opting Out
I also hear from a lot of consumers wanting to know why they’re still getting contacted after they opt out. We live in a very connected world where a lot of companies are trying to sell their products, and while helpful, opting out of preapproved or prescreened credit offers will not remove you from every list.
Opting Out: Register With the Do Not Call Registry
When you opt out with the credit-reporting agencies, you’re not excusing yourself from those dinnertime sales calls or spam emails. You’ll also need to register on with the National Do Not Call Registry, and you can visit the Direct Marketing Association to learn about your options for opting out of other mail and telephone marketing lists.
The important thing to know is that these prescreened and preapproved credit offers DO NOT affect your credit score. They’re called “soft inquiries” and show up on your credit report as something you didn’t initiate. The format for how this information is reported may vary from agency to agency, but the basic information will be the same on your reports.
Inquiries that do not affect your credit rating include requests from employers, requests from companies making promotional offers, and your own requests to check your credit. These inquiries are viewable only by you.
Inquiries that may affect your credit rating include those made by companies with whom you have applied for a loan or credit.
If you’re worried about the security of your personal information, you can always opt out of preapproved offers, but it’s also a good idea to check your credit report regularly for any inaccurate information or sign of fraud.
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