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June 8, 2010


Fraud Prevention in Under 5 Minutes

by Fin Engr

How much time are you willing to spend to prevent fraud? Would you spare 5 minutes?

That’s all it takes to complete the OptOutPrescreen form.

And the best part, you have two options: 5 years or forever.

After launching the program, many people were confused considering it to be fraud. Rightly so, the program is hosted through the big credit reporting agencies. If it looks like a phish, and smells like a phish, then it must be a phishing scam – right?

The FTC now provides an information page to dispel these myths.

So, how does the program add another layer of protection to your identity?

If you have a mailing address, then you’ve probably received those pesky “pre-approved” letters offering you a pool of credit to swim about. These unsolicited offers originate from credit reporting agencies, but you have the right to stop them.

Unless you have a locked mailbox or door slot, you are at risk of someone rifling through your mail and pulling out those pre-approved offers. Simply by filling out the form and patiently waiting for the return mail, they’ll hit pay dirt. The worst part is, you won’t know until the damage is done!

Although it’s argued “pre-approved” marketing offers recipients better deals, we know the reality is those offers (and probably much more) are at the tips of our fingers on the internet.

Unsolicited advances whether from a credit card company or drunk guy at a bar are never appealing. The offers clutter up your mailbox and fill up your trash can.

Take the time to fill out the form and your mailbox (and credit identity) will thank you.

Another good way to protect yourself is being more knowledgeable than those trying to take advantage of you.  Consider a fraud management degree online to better protect yourself and your finances.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I opted out a while ago but occasionally still get offers. It’s certainly worth the 5 minutes though just to decrease your junk mail alone though.

  2. Jun 11 2010

    I’ve always wondered about those pre-approval mailings!

    Thanks for giving us readers a tool to fight back against such identity theft catalysts!!!

    Great post!

    • Fin Engr
      Jun 14 2010

      @ Money Reasons:

      Glad you found it helpful! Amazing what resources are out there, but aren’t promoted well enough.

      How have you been otherwise? Looks like diligent with the postings..


  3. Jun 13 2010

    Darn that is an annoyance!!!! I don’t know if there is something similar for UK but will be checking it out.

    Great tip, sending this to my partner (she is American).

    • Fin Engr
      Jun 14 2010

      @ Forest:

      Part of personal finance blogging should be to spread the word about useful programs like this one. Wish I had all the answers, but don’t know if there’s one for the UK. Would start with checking out any organizations with “Consumer Protection” or “Better Business”

  4. Jul 2 2010

    I filled one out a while ago, but I don’t remember the “forever” option. Need to try it again! Thanks for the reminder. Barb

    • Fin Engr
      Jul 7 2010

      @ Barb:

      I think I’m in the same boat as you. Probably something they don’t want to “publicize” too much! ;)


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