Pre-approved credit offers: You can opt out forever

You can stop receiving pre-screened credit and insurance offers for either five years or for life.

In October 2012, theFederal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that the credit reporting company Equifax agreed to settle FTC charges that it illegally sold the names of millions of people who were late on their mortgage payments. According to the FTC, Equifax sold lists of names to companies, including Direct Lending Source, Inc., which then resold the lists. Those “third parties” used the lists to pitch loan modification and debt relief services to people, the FTC says. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, companies can buy prescreened lists only to make “firm offers of credit or insurance”— not for general marketing.

What is a pre-screened credit offer? 

The FTC reports companies that solicit new credit card accounts and insurance policies use prescreening to identify potential customers for the products they sell. You may have seen a “preapproved” offer and these offers of credit are based on the information that is in a person’s credit report. 

If you’d rather not receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you do have two choices:

  1. You can opt out of receiving them for five years
  2. You can opt out of receiving them permanently.

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit OptOutPrescreen.com

To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent opt-out process on OptOutPrescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.

The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies. Please be aware that when you call or visit the website, you’ll be asked to provide confidential information which includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

The FTC says that if you don’t have access to the Internet, you may send a written request topermanently opt outto each of the major consumer reporting companies. Make sure your request includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Experian
Opt Out
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Equifax, Inc.
Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). In addition, Michigan State University Extension’s MI Money Healthwebsite provides free information on a variety of financial and home ownership topics.

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