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How to prevent your credit report company from getting you spammed

By eries in Media
Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 10:23:09 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Well, after my third spam phone call in as many days, I finally got fed up. I demanded that the mega-corp that was spamming me tell me where they got my personal information. Turns out that they get it from my credit report, which is maintained by Equifax. So, I fished around on their web site and found out how I could prevent them from releasing my personal details to the world. To make this happen, you need to call 1-888-5 OPT OUT (1-888-567-8688).

Once you call, you have to answer a whole bunch of questions, and "if your information was received clearly" they will remove your name from their list, and the lists of four other major reporting agencies, within five business days.

However, there's a lot more interesting information to be had from their web site. For instance, here's a list of the information they collect on you, and make available to anyone who wants it:

  • First and last name (middle initial and suffix, as applicable);
  • Social Security number;
  • Date of birth;
  • Gender;
  • Home telephone number;
  • E-mail address;
  • Current and former mailing address;
  • Credit card number and expiration date; and
  • Drivers license number, state of issue, and address on license

For complete details, read their privacy policy, email their privacy hotline, or (and I got a big kick out of this) read their CEO's "Speech on Privacy".


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Related Links
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How to prevent your credit report company from getting you spammed | 7 comments (7 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Loans (2.66 / 3) (#1)
by zforce on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 02:39:51 AM EST

Now, if I understand the credit system correctly, you just wiped out your credit record, therefore you have no credit. Won't this make it nearly impossible for you to get a loan? If this is not the case can someone explain it to me more clearly?


Explicit authorization (2.50 / 4) (#2)
by magney on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 03:01:09 AM EST

I don't know what's going on here for sure either, but I think what would happen is that he would need to explicitly authorize the credit reporting agency to release his information to a potential lender.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Re: Explicit authorization (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by General_Corto on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 04:08:41 PM EST

Welcome to the happy world of Opt-Out.

From what I can tell, most credit card issuers have the attitude "we retain the right to spam the living crap out of you (with dead tree products) unless you write to us to say 'no.'" Needless to say, not that many people bother to do this (the same reason mail-in rebates are used, rather than getting the discount at source).

No doubt, the credit reporting agency has the same attitude. Because you didn't tell the card issuer that you didn't want your details released when you applied (not that you had a choice in the matter at that point), I'm sure they sleep well at night while giving your details to just about anyone that has a corporation to back them up.

And you thought online privacy was a bitch! :)

I'm spying on... you!
[ Parent ]
Not opting-out your full credit record (4.42 / 7) (#4)
by Latrell Sprewell on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 11:26:30 AM EST

The way I read this URL in the Equifax consumer FAQ, you are only allowed to opt out of group spams of pre-approved credit. For example, if Citibank were to ask Equifax for a list of people with the highest credit rating, to spam a Citibank Gold Card advert, then your name would be off the list.

However, if you were to apply for a loan or credit card somewhere, the potential lender would still be able to get ahold of your record.

Here's the full quote from their Consumer FAQ list.
Does Equifax use consumer credit information to market consumer products and services, or sell my name to direct mail companies?

Equifax does not do this. However, we do provide information to credit card companies and lenders for their offering of pre-approved credit to consumers. If you prefer not to receive such offers, call us toll-free at 1-888-5 OPT OUT, or send your request to:

Equifax Inc.
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Please include your complete name, full address, Social Security number, and signature. Equifax will remove your name from "pre-approved credit card orders," and share your request with the other two major credit reporting agencies.

[ Parent ]
Does that really work? (3.20 / 5) (#3)
by marlowe on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 08:03:07 AM EST

Asking a crook to stop abusing you and then believe him when he says "sure!"?

Best way to deal with telemarketers is to screen thourgh voicemail or an answering machine. Getting spam email? Change your email address and keep your new one on a need-to-know basis.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Qspace.com -> Opt out of spam (none / 0) (#6)
by bearclaw on Tue Nov 14, 2000 at 04:29:55 PM EST

I use qspace.com to view my equifax credit report online every so often, and they have a service where you fill in some information and you can print out a premade letter to the Direct Marketers Association to opt out of postal and telephone marketing.

You have to do some sort of fre registration, but it looks like this might be what you are looking for.

-- bearclaw
Try Junkbusters (none / 0) (#7)
by dburkes on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 06:04:49 AM EST

At Junkbusters, you can fill out a form and it will spit out form letters to all the major direct mail firms. Just sign the letters, fold, and mail. I did it about a year ago, and I get very little junk mail any more. No more credit card offers, etc. It's amazing how many trees are being spared.

How to prevent your credit report company from getting you spammed | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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