Your credit report contains highly sensitive information, including your social security number, your past addresses, and even the names and addresses of your past employers. However, it is perfectly legal for information on your credit report to be used to advertise you as a customer to anyone who wants to do business with you, including creditors and companies who pull your credit scores for “promotional purposes” – that is, they want to see if they should market their services to you. Whenever you receive a “pre-approved” or “pre-screened” offer of credit, this is because the bank or company who is offering credit to you has either pulled your credit information through a “soft inquiry,” or the credit bureau has sold your information as part of a “trigger lead” program.
If you are not comfortable with being part of this targeted advertising campaign, you can choose to opt out of receiving pre-screened credit offers by going to www.optoutprescreen.com. You can also call the 1 800 number that was set up by the credit bureaus, 1-888-5OPTOUT, if you prefer to opt out of receiving prescreened credit offers over the phone. When you call this number, the automated system will ask you to provide certain information such as your phone number and social security number. If you are not comfortable doing that, and would prefer to speak to a real person when giving your personal information, you will need to call each of the credit bureaus separately.
While this method will not eliminate all forms of targeted advertising, it should allow you to opt out of receiving pre-screened credit offers for five years. For more information, you can consult the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is a federal law that restricts who has access to the information in your credit report.