Privacy: What You Do Know Can Protect
Our economy generates an enormous
amount of data. Most users of that information are from
honest businesses—getting and giving legitimate
information. Despite the benefits of the information
age, some consumers may want to limit the amount of
personal information they share. And they can: More
organizations are offering people choices about how
their personal information is used. For example, many
feature an “opt-out” choice that limits
the information shared with others or used for promotional
purposes. When you “opt-out,” you may cut
down on the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls,
promotional mail and spam emails that you receive. Learn
more about the options you have for protecting your
personal information by contacting the following organizations.
The credit bureaus offer a toll-free
number to call to “opt-out” of having pre-approved
credit offers sent to you for two years. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT
(567-8688) for more information. When you call, you’ll
be asked for personal information, including your home
telephone number, your name and your Social Security
number. The information you provide is confidential
and will be used only to process your request to opt
out of receiving pre-screened offers of credit.
In addition, you can notify the three
major credit bureaus that you do not want personal information
about you shared for promotional purposes. Write your
own letter or use the sample letter to limit the amount
of information the credit bureaus will share about you.
Send your letter to the three major credit bureaus:
PO Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
701 Experian Parkway
Allen, TX 75013
Marketing List Opt Out
PO Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288-7328
Department of Motor Vehicles
The Drivers Privacy Protection Act
forbids states from distributing personal information
to direct marketers. It allows sharing of personal information
with law enforcement officials, courts, government agencies,
private investigators, insurance underwriters and similar
businesses. Check with your state DMV to learn more.
The Federal Government has created the National Do Not
Call Registry—the free, easy way to reduce the
telemarketing calls you get at home. To register, or
to get information, visit www.donotcall.gov,
or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.
You will receive fewer telemarketing calls within three
months of registering your number. It will stay in the
registry for five years or until it is disconnected
or you take it off the registry. After five years, you
will be able to renew your registration.
The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail
Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving direct
mail marketing from many national companies for five
years. When you register with this service, your name
will be put on a “delete” file and made
available to direct-mail marketers. However, your registration
will not stop mailings from organizations that are not
registered with the DMA’s Mail Preference Service.
To register with DMA, send your letter to:
Direct Marketing Association
Mail Preference Service
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
Or register online at www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html.
The DMA also has an EMail Preference Service to help
you reduce unsolicited commercial emails. To “opt-out”
of receiving unsolicited commercial email, use DMA’s
online form at www.dmaconsumers.org/offemaillist.html.
Your online request will be effective for one year.
To learn more about privacy issues and how they affect
your life and the decisions you may make in the marketplace,
Credit Bureaus: Sample
Be sure to send your
letter to ALL three credit bureaus.
To whom it may concern:
I request to have my name removed
from your marketing lists. Here is the information
you have asked me to include in my request:
FIRST, MIDDLE &
(List all name variations, including Jr., Sr.,
CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS
PREVIOUS MAILING ADDRESS
(Fill in your previous mailing address if you
have moved in the last 6 months.)
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
DATE OF BIRTH
Thank you for your prompt handling
of my request.