July 17, 2008


I don't think anyone would argue that solicitations from various sources and means can become extremely annoying. It's been almost two years since I shared resources for opting out of such unwanted solicitations and felt it was a good time for a reminder ...

The National "Do Not Call Registry" allows you to register both land lines and cell phones (https://www.donotcall.gov) by e-mail; or you can call toll free 1-888-382-1222 (from the number you are registering). Registration is free. It used to be effective for five years. With the passing of the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007 (signed in Feb. 2008), numbers placed on the registry will now remain [removed] permanently (until you "opt in"). Solicitors affected by the legislation are now required to stop the calls within 31 days of registration. Unfortunately, it won't stop all telemarketer calls. Banks, phone companies, airlines, insurance companies, nonprofit charitable organizations, and politicians are not under the jurisdiction of the FTC, and won't be impacted by the list. In addition, the list only applies to calls across state lines. Sales calls within a State will still be permitted unless you also opt out of solicitations through your State ‘do not call’ registry (or if your State integrated their list with the national one - some did when the Federal list was initiated in 2003). For state info: http://www.the-dma.org/government/donotcalllists.shtml.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit reporting agencies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance. What you may not have known is that the FCRA also enables you to “Opt-Out,” which prevents the credit reporting agencies from providing the information contained in your credit file to others.

There are two good ways to stop [or at least slow] offers:

(1) Go to www.OptOutPrescreen.com (or call 888-5-optout). These are the credit reporting agencies opt in/opt out resources which will stop the agencies from selling your information to direct marketers. You can opt out for a five-year period or permanently (you can always opt back in if you decide you miss the mail!). If you use the website provided, you can fill out a very brief, simple form to opt out. It will then provide a screen with the information you provided that you will need to print out, sign, and mail to the address provided in order to permanently opt out. If you don’t do that last step (print and mail), it will opt you out for the 5-year period instead.

(2) Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Do Not Mail file.
You can access this online – this process costs $1. You can also send a letter or postcard with your name, address and signature to: Mail Preference Service; Direct Marketing Association; PO Box 643; Carmel, NY 10512. The ‘mail method’ also costs $1 [+ postage]. Your name stays on the list for 5 years, and you can re-register at the end of that period.

Credit card companies get consumer information from other sources in addition to those mentioned above, so, while these two methods will considerably slow down credit card offers, the offers won't necessarily stop completely. For additional info, review the FAQ page for opting in/out at: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/faq.htm.