Another way to opt out of credit and insurance offers
In my search to figure out why the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are requesting your Social Security Number, I found optoutprescreen.com. This website allows you to remove your name permanently from the lists Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion provide to businesses that send preapproved/prescreened offers of credit or insurance.
Some background: Many of the companies you do business with provide data to those Consumer Credit Reporting Companies about how much you owe and how promptly you pay your bills. While the credit bureaus do rent lists, they do not disclose specific financial information to marketers like how much you make, what you owe or to whom. Instead, they compile lists based on consumer characteristics. For example, they might create a list of people with annual incomes over $40,000, who use credit cards and pay their bills on time. If you fall into a category such as this, you might receive "pre-approved" credit card offers in the mail. The insurance industry also uses these lists to solicit business.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, 15 USC 1681) and some states' laws require credit reporting companies to delete any consumer's name and address from mailing lists if the consumer so chooses.
So what happens when you opt out? Using the optoutprescreen.com you fill out a brief application that asks for your name, address, telephone number, and Social Security Number. You are given the option to opt out for five years or forever. Opting out forever requires that you print out and send in the Permanent Opt-Out Election Form with your signature.
Why do they ask for my Social Security Number? Here's what I found in the FAQs section of the site: "Your Social Security Number is not required to process an Opt-Out request through OptOutPrescreen.com. However, we strongly urge you to provide this information because it helps to ensure that we can successfully process your request. This website’s security protocols and measures are designed to protect the personally identifiable information you provide from unauthorized access or alteration. As an added security measure, we only display the last four digits of your Social Security number on the confirmation screen."
And in a few weeks, will I be free of these offers? According to the site, "Even though your request becomes effective with Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion within five days of your request, you may not see an immediate reduction in the amount of offers you receive. This is because your name may have already been provided to some companies that have not yet mailed their offers to you. While your name will be removed from the lists that Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion provide to businesses for the purpose of making you a firm offer of credit or insurance, you may continue to receive offers from sources that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their lists."