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How To Stop Credit Agencies From Renting Your Name

From Gary North's Reality Check Issue 118 Feb. 20, 2002

Most Americans don't know that the major personal credit-rating agencies are allowed to rent the names and telephone contact information of everyone in their files, which probably includes you. This is a major source of names and phone numbers for telemarketers and banks that are promoting credit cards through direct mail.

If you don't take specific action to stop this fully legal invasion of your privacy, it will go on.

A little-known federal law was passed in 1999 which forces these credit agencies to set up an "opt-out" program for you to secure privacy for your name and contact information. This requires a call to a toll-free telephone number. Very few people know about this phone number.

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The mailing list rental business is very profitable. These companies have no incentive to shrink the size of their lists, which would shrink their income. So, they do not widely publicize this opt-out option. You won't be seeing an "opt out now" ad on prime-time TV.

On their opt-out phone tree, they give you a two-year name-removal option as your first choice. They do not offer the permanent removal option until #3, the final option. When you call, WAIT FOR OPTION 3.

You will be asked for your phone number, your address, your name (spoken and spelled), and your Social Security number. Go ahead and provide this information; they already have it, and a lot more. The point is, you don't want telemarketers and direct-mail solicitors to be able to rent any of this information.

If you do nothing, then you are implicitly saying, "Come and get me! I love junk mail! I love it when telemarketers call me!"

Call this number: 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5 OPT OUT)

After you provide the required information, you will be mailed a form that you must fill out in order to be removed from all of the companies' list rentals. Fill it out and mail it back.

I hereby authorize you to forward this warning to anyone in your e-mail address book or on your in-house e- mail list. Very few people know that their names are now being rented by these credit agencies. They don't know that they can put a stop to this practice with a phone call. They deserve to know.

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