Did you know you can opt-out of receiving those pre-approved credit card offers just like you can put yourself on the "Do Not Call" list for telemarketers?
There's good reason to do this. Besides the fact that they're annoying, these pre-approved offers also put you at risk for identity theft.
In fact, MSNBC posed the question, "What if a desperate identity thief digging through your trash found a credit card application ripped into little pieces, taped it back together, filled it out and mailed it in?"
"Would he get the credit card?" The answer is one of those "You've got to be kidding me?!" moments.
So how do you opt-out of these pre-approved credit card lists, help protect your credit (especially if you're thinking about getting a mortgage), and get less junk mail in the process?
You can remove yourself from pre-approved lists for 5 years by opting-out online at OptOutPrescreen.com, the official site created by Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and Trans Union. They also have instructions on removing yourself permanently in writing.
(And, in case you're wondering why they'd do this, they have to: it's the law.)
Beware of Scammers
Note that besides the web site and toll-free number 1-888-5OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) there aren't any other ways to remove yourself from the list, so don't give anyone else your information.
You'll have to give the OptOutPrescreen.com web site or the folks on the toll-free your social security number and address because that's how they track you, your credit, and whether you get those mailings or not.
For the Determined
Still, some people receive offers even after opting out because some companies just fail to check the list. The FTC provides additional contact information on Where to Go to "Just Say No" to these offers and even gives you a short sample letter you can send to credit bureaus. They also provide information on reporting scams and tips for victims of identity theft.
And while you may never be able to eliminate all your junk mail, you can reduce it significantly and help protect your credit at the same time.