ALERT: Credit Bureaus Are Selling Your Name and Private Financial Information
by: Skip McGrath
A loophole in the law now allows the four largest credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis to sell your personal and private financial information to any and all lenders both in the US and overseas.
The financial information they are selling includes your name, address, phone number (including unlisted phone numbers, credit score, current debt, debt history, property information, age, gender and estimted income.
Luckily there is a free and easy way for you to put a stop to this practice.
Have you ever wondered why you receive offers in the mail for credit or insurance that say you are already approved? It is because the credit bureaus have sold all of your personal credit information to these companies.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Credit Reporting Agencies (Experian, Innovis, Equifax and TransUnion) are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you (“Firm Offers”).
The FCRA also provides you the right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information to companies.
Through this website, you have three choices:
1. Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers for Five Years – (electronically through this website).
2. Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers permanently – (mail Permanent Opt-Out Election form available through this website).
3. Opt-In and be eligible to receive Firm Offers. This option is for consumers who have previously completed an Opt-Out request – (electronically through this website).
If you choose to Opt-Out, you will no longer be included in firm offer lists provided by these four consumer credit reporting companies. In other words, these agencies will no longer be allowed to sell your personal and private information.
If you do want to receive pre-screened offers from insurance and credit card companies then you can choose the opt-in selection. This might be useful if you happen to be shopping for a mortgage or credit card, but once you complete this process, I would suggest you go back and opt out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this website legitimate?
OptOutPrescreen.com is the only internet website authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for consumers to Opt-Out of firm offers of credit or insurance. You may request to Opt-Out from firm offer lists for 5 years or permanently. If you have previously completed a request to Opt-Out from receiving firm offers and would like to Opt-In, you may also complete your request on this website. Consumers should not provide their personal information to any other company or person in connection with requesting Opt-Out services under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Does exercising my right to Opt-Out affect my ability to apply for credit or insurance?
No, removing your name from these lists for firm offers of credit or insurance does not affect your ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance.
Does Opting-Out improve my credit score?
No, since inquiries for firm offers for credit or insurance are not used in calculating credit scores, Opting-Out does not improve your credit score. Similarly, inquiries for firm offers for credit or insurance do not reduce your credit score.
How secure is my information?
OptOutPrescreen.com recognizes the importance of secure online transactions, and we use security technologies to safeguard the information you provide us through this website. When we transmit your information to the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies, your information is encrypted. In addition, we take other reasonable physical, technical, and procedural safeguards for purposes of protecting your personally identifiable information.
Further, the site’s security protocols and measures are designed to protect the personally identifiable information you provide from unauthorized access or alteration. These measures include physical security, technological security measures and encryption of certain information.
How do I stop receiving solicitation telephone calls?
Please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for information on how to stop solicitation telephone calls. www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/tcpa.html