How to opt out of pre-approved credit offers

Cropped Photo: MGN / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

If you're wondering how to stop piles of unsolicited letters from showing up in your mailbox, you're not alone.

The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Carolina says they've gotten a number of phone calls lately from people asking how to stop receiving pre-approved credit and insurance offers.

While the Fair Credit Reporting Act lets credit reporting companies put your name on lists that are then used by creditors and insurers, there are ways to cut down the offers.

The BBB says you can opt out of receiving offers altogether, that way fewer companies will have access to your personal information. You can do so by going to OptOutPrescreen.com or calling 888-567-8688.

But like anything, it's easier said than done and scammers will use any trick they can to get your personal information.

Know that only four reporting companies, TransUnion, Experian, Equifax and Innovis, have opt-out offers.

If someone claims to be with a company not listed, beware, that's a scam.

Also, be careful of scammers that pretend to be with your bank or credit card company. Those companies are not authorized to remove your name from these lists.

If you choose to opt out, don't be alarmed when you're asked for your Social Security number. An agency will also ask for your phone number and birthday.

Anything beyond that, like your bank account or credit card number, is not needed, so think twice if you're asked to give out that information.

Remember, if you opt out, you can always opt back in later on.