Data privacy is understandably a hot topic. Millions of Americans aren’t aware of just how easily some of their personal information is sold to marketers, spammers and, importantly, scammers. Have you been caught off guard by the volume of spam and scam callers? Has it caused you to stop answering phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize?
We have two best practices to keep unsolicited calls at bay. These simple steps will radically free up your phone, reduce who has access to your personal information, and help simplify your digital life.
When you’re making a major purchase that requires a credit pull — think mortgage, car — the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion are allowed to add your name and details to marketing lists used by creditors or insurers, who then contact you to make offers of credit or insurance.
The OptOutPrescreen.com website is the only secure, authorized website to help you opt-out of being on these lists and getting bombarded by calls and credit/insurance offers. You should not provide any personal information to other websites, people, or companies claiming to provide this type of opt-out.
Here’s how you do it:
- Head to OptOutPrescreen.com and click on the “Click Here to Opt-In or Opt-Out” button
- Prepare to submit personal information and follow the steps on the website
- Note that the online option will keep you off these lists for five years, while mailing in the opt-out request permanently removes you from these lists
- You can also complete this process via phone by dialing 888-5-OPT-OUT (888-567-8688)
- Your request becomes effective with the credit bureaus within five days. You may continue receiving offers from companies that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their marketing lists.
If you haven’t opted out using the above steps before your mortgage banker pulls your credit, you will likely also get calls from competing companies attempting to offer “rates.” These are usually misleading bait-and-switch tactics that can be detrimental to your home loan process. If you ever suspect the caller isn’t from your mortgage company, ask them questions they should know the answer to (like the name of your Loan Officer). If they’re unable to provide the correct information, they’re not with your lender.
2. National Do Not Call Registry
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for protecting American consumers by “stopping unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace.” The agency developed a federal “Do Not Call” registry as an easy and free way to reduce unsolicited marketing calls made to your personal phone numbers.
Here’s how you do it:
- Visit donotcall.gov to register your home and mobile phone, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register
- Expect fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering