Each year, more than 3 million Americans discover that credit accounts have been falsely opened in their name; of these, at least 400,000 can blame the crime on stolen mail. Fraud expert Sid Kirchheimer says that in the space of an hour you can deter both direct mailers and telemarketers. To decline vulnerable mailings (such as credit card applications) and put an end to most unwanted phone calls, contact the following:
Just Say No
- Credit Bureaus Opt-Out Line
Call 888-567-8688 (888-5-OPT-OUT) from your home telephone (so it can be checked against an address database) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com to stop preapproved credit card and insurance offers from reaching you by mail or phone.
- Do Not Call List
If you haven't done so already, by all means, register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. Once you have registered your telephone numbers at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222, most telemarketers are barred from calling you.
- List Brokers
Pooling information gleaned from phone books, public records and other sources, these companies prepare and sell mailing lists to businesses. To remove yourself from all of their lists, you'll have to contact each one individually. (Preprinted mailing labels to ease the task are available at www.fightidentity theft.com/junkmail_labels.html.) Details on reaching the four largest list brokers appear below.
- Direct Marketing Association
The DMA is a trade group whose 5,200 member companies use the telephone, mail and the Internet to pitch their products directly to consumers, bypassing such intermediaries as traditional bricks-and-mortar retail outlets. The DMA offers half a dozen ways for you to opt out of receiving solicitations from its members.