If you're like the typical American, you probably receive at least 2 pre-screened credit card offers in the mail each week. They usually come from the typical companies Capital One, Chase Bank, Citibank, etc. Have you ever read the fine print on the back of the terms of service, which describes how to opt-out from receiving further mailings? They list a phone number 1-888-5OPTOUT and are now including a web site as well.
I thought this was too good to be true (I'm sure you know how the saying goes - if it looks too good, it probably is), but I figured I would take a look. The web site is a joint venture between Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion - the biggest names of the pre-screening industry. They request your name and address to remove you from the pre-screening list. They also ask for your social security number and birth date, but say this information is optional.
A note to all Internet users out there - be extremely careful about where you type your social security number on the web, if ever. I strongly recommend never entering this unless you are absolutely sure of the web site in question.
The site seems simple enough to get removed from the lists, but is it legit? I did a brief search to find out more and one of the first results was Ed Foster's Gripelog. Ed described his entire experience of using the web site to opt-out of those annoying credit card offers. He also described his disappointment when the offers only increased rather than decrease! His blog is an excellent read, especially if you were thinking of opting out.
Somehow, I'm not surprised by his findings. With spam emails, those who unsubscribe are the ones flooded with the most spam mails. This is because the spammers now know that your account is active and that you actually read the emails. Likewise with the credit card companies, they now know that you actually open the envelopes and read them, so why not send you more?
Ed actually recommends shredding the credit card application paperwork and stuffing it back in the postage-paid envelope to mail back at their own expense. Some of his users' comments reflect the same opinion.
So, rather than risking putting your name on even more lists, you probably should stay away from the Opt-Out web site and just toss those credit card offers. Just like spam, this stuff is better left ignored.