Are You Inundated with Prescreened Credit Offers?

  
     
June 13, 2008

Prescreened or pre-approved offers for new credit card accounts and insurance policies are a staple in many people’s mailboxes.   Some folks chuck them without even opening the envelope; others carefully read through the materials before taking action; and many people are not certain exactly what to do. 

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to consider when deciding whether to respond to prescreened offers of credit and insurance.

  • Prescreened solicitations can arrive via mail, but you may also receive them in a phone call or in an e-mail. Before responding, make certain that you have verified the legitimacy of the company making the offer. Contact the BBB for a report (www.bbb.org).
  • Prescreened offers are based on information in your credit report that indicates you meet criteria set by the business making the offer. Typically, the creditor or insurer has worked with a credit reporting company to devise a list of people that meet a minimum credit score or other criteria.
  • Prescreening does not hurt your credit record. While there will be “inquiries” on your credit report showing which companies obtained your info for prescreening, such inquiries will not have a negative effort on your credit score.

If you prefer to reduce or eliminate the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers that you receive, you have a couple of choices. You can opt out of receiving them for five years or permanently by using methods provided by the major consumer reporting agencies. You may call toll-free to 1.888.567.8688 or visit www.optoutprescreen.com for details. Be aware that you will be asked to provide certain personal information so make certain you have dialed correctly or entered the correct URL in your browser. The info you provide is confidential and will only be used to process your “opt out” request.

Removing your name from prescreened lists will not affect your ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance. It may, however, reduce your access to favorable terms of credit. If you are pre-selected to receive an offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. And, the terms of prescreened offers may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. Some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.

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