When the major credit agencies receive a request to pull a consumer’s credit report, they add the consumer’s name to a marketing list and package his or her financial information for sale to business entities wishing to make firm offers of credit. This shared financial information includes name, address, phone number, credit history, and FICO score. The purchasers of this information start calling and mailing the consumer with solicitations. But there are ways that a consumer can opt-out of these pre-approved credit offers.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits the consumer credit reporting agencies (Experian, Innovis, Equifax, and TransUnion) to include consumers’ names on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that the consumer has not initiated (“Firm Offers”).
However, the FCRA also provides consumers the right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing their credit file information for Firm Offers. Individuals with no interest in receiving pre-approved credit offers from phone calls, text messages, and emails may cancel the future solicitation of these offers. Online or by phone, consumers may opt-out of receiving these offers for five years or permanently.
To opt-out permanently: You may begin the permanent opt-out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com. To complete a request, a signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form must be returned. The form will be provided after an online request to opt-out is initiated.
To opt-out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.
Certain personal information, including a home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth, must be provided to complete an opt-out request. The information provided by consumers is confidential and must only be used to process the opt-out request.
Opting-out stops prescreened solicitations based on lists from the four major consumer reporting companies. However, business solicitations may continue for credit and insurance based upon lists of other types of entities, such as local merchants, religious groups, charitable organizations, professional associations, alumni groups, and companies with which a consumer is a prior or current customer, donor, or patron. Consumers must individually and directly contact these organizations and groups to discontinue receiving mail from them.
To permanently opt-out by mail, send a written request to each of the major consumer reporting companies. The request must include a home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495
Opting-out from prescreened lists does not affect the ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance. Usually, requests to opt-out are processed within five days but may take up to 60 days before the prescreened offers completely stop. Consumers may opt back in by using the same contact information and procedure for opting-out.
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