Safeguarding our identity and privacy should be a part of our everyday lives, however many of us are not aware of the various resources to assist us with this endeavor. There are 5 kinds of Identity Theft but most people are just aware of credit card identity theft. That is just 20% of the problem. Here are all 5.
1) Driver’s License Identity Theft
2) Social Security Number Identity Theft
3) Character/Criminal Identity Theft
4) Medical Identity Theft
5) Financial Identity Theft
Many privacy experts advocate the limiting of giving out our personal information to companies. Many of us don’t think much about giving out or basic information such as our address and phone number, but hesitate when it comes to more critical information such as our social security and credit card number. But even the basic information is used to build more and more profiles on us which is why protecting the basic information is just as important.
One of the easiest ways to help limit the exposure of our personal information is to make sure we diligently use “opt-out” lists. The following a few of the most common organizations and marketing companies that allow you opt-out of their lists.
Cell Phone and Smart Phone Information
Know that your smartphone and the apps you download gives away a significant information about you – especially every time you download a smartphone app – especially those that are free. Watch this YouTube video of a recent story on Fox News
Video on how pictures you take with you phone and them posted online and show the world where you are, live, and other private information you may be surprised is shared with the world
Here is another video to watch which highlights what you give up when someone goes to download a simple stock app
Consumer Reports Article on Health Apps and Privicy
Stop Junk Mail, Email and Phone Calls
Junk mail seems to be one of the things in life that it seems that we have to live with, however you can do several things that can help reduce the amount of it. The following are a few pro-active ideas you start right away:
This is another organization that has an “opt-out” service. They will allow you to opt out for free by mail or they will allow you to do it online for a $5.00 fee. To obtain more information go to their web site. They have two services that you may consider being removed from:
PennySaver of California
You can remove your name and address from these mailings by calling:
(800) 422-4116 There are many companies that distribute many (but not all) of the coupon envelopes that are sent to you. With many of these organizations, their opt-out service only lasts for five years.
Click the link and fill out the form, remember you don’t have to give your email.
Val-Pak Savings Coupons.
Val-Pak maintains regional lists, not a central one. Send your request to the address printed on the envelope you receive. If you receive the blue envelope you can also remove your address from their website at: www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionForm
Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list or go to the above website and click on “Contact Us” then under Electronic Mail click on the e-mail address for Customer Service. Request from Customer Services to be removed from their mailing list by providing them with your name, address and account number as it appears on the back of the catalog. Your account number is in the pick box list.
Catalogs, mail order lists and magazines
Abacus (owned by DoubleClick)
When you buy something from a mail order catalog, your transaction is likely to be reported to Abacus, owned by DoubleClick Digital Advertising. Members of the Abacus Alliance, an estimated 1800 catalog companies, also work with a variety of other publishing companies who contribute and exchange information about their customers. Call the below phone number to get the instructions to be removed from their list: Phone 800 518-4453 or 303.657.2800
First class and some bulk mail:
If the former residents neglected to fill out a Post Office change of address card, or it expired, you can fill one out for them. You must fill out one card for each unique last name. Write “Moved, Left No Forwarding Address” as the new address. Sign your own name and write “Form filled in by current resident of the house, [Your Name], agent for the above”. You must write “agent for the above”. Hand this form directly to your carrier, if possible, as your carrier must approve the form and see that it gets entered into the post service National Change of Address (NCOA) database. This is very effective.
Register names of deceased:
The Direct Marketing Association gives you the ability to register the names of deceased loved ones with their Deceased Do Not Contact list (DDNC) at:https://www.dmachoice.org/index.php# They have a second website for deceased person registration which can be found here: https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php
U.S. Post Office – Information regarding managing mail for the deceased: https://www.usps.com/manage/mail-for-deceased-people.htm
Phone: 888-567-8688, aka 1-888-5-OPT-OUT
Note: This voice prompted service will remove you from the credit card marketing lists of Equifax, Experian, TransUnion,as well as this TransUnion Op Out page also, as well as Innovis. It will take your pertinent information including your Social Security Number.
Banking and Insurance Industry Opt Out Information
Many of the financial institutions you deal with have to be personally notified that you wish to opt out of their direct mail mailings. Additionally, many of your banking and insurance institutions sell your information to related companies.
Can I reduce the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers I get?
If you decide that you don’t want to receive pre-screened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.
To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.
To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.
Sample Op Out Letters: To let your bank know that you don’t want your information shared: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs24a-letter.htm
Credit Card Direct Mail Opt Out Removal Service:
Your credit history is available to credit card companies for marketing offers. To reduce these junk mail credit-related offers, call the federal Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) opt-out request line. They will opt you out with the four major credit reporting companies permanently, or you can request it for just two years. To obtain more information about this service you should read the corresponding page on the Federal Trade Commission’s website listed below. This service allows you to opt out for two years or permanently.
Many credit card companies compile lists of cardholders for sales promotions based on purchase patterns. California Civil Code sec. 1748.12 requires all credit card companies to provide notice to cardholders prior to disclosing personal information to marketers. Cardholders may prevent the release of this information by filling out a preprinted form or calling a toll-free number, often found on the card itself. Other states either have no law or different laws, but most companies will honor your request not to sell or share your contact information with other companies if you contact them.
Other Sources of Junk Mail
Almost every magazine subscription company sells its subscriber information to whoever will pay for it. In order to stop them from selling your information you will need to notify each of the magazine companies you subscribe to and notify them you would like to “opt-out” of their subscriber list. To opt-out of these lists, on each magazine, look at the bottom of the masthead page under their contact info. They will usually have this information in tiny print in the last few paragraphs of the masthead. Some times the information will be in a section called “subscriber address changes.”
Keep your phone number off solicitation lists:
The easiest was is to call the Federal Trade Commissions Do-Not-Call List phone line. You can register online or via telephone.
Junk Fax Information
The following is the Federal Trade Commissions web site that provides information regarding how to stop or make a complaint about junk faxes.
a few more sites to read
Data compilers and mailing list companies
Acxiom, a large data compiler that sells consumer data to marketers. They participate in DMA’s MPS. To request an opt-out form, leave a message on its Consumer Advocate Hotline at (877) 774-2094, or send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
Equifax (formerly Polk)
Experian Marketing Solutions
(888) 5OPTOUT (888-567-8688)
Obtain Your Social Security Report:
To obtain your free Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement you can call the Social Security Administration and obtain it. The phone number below is a voice prompt service that will order you a SSA 7004 form. This form will depict how much money has been placed in your account, your estimates of Social Security benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, and should indicate any unauthorized use of your social security number. If your real earnings do not match, you should call the social security administration (800) 772-1213, and speak with an operator.
Check Your Medical History Insurance Industry Database :
If you would like to see you medial insurance information file, a separate organization keeps this information. You can obtain one report each year for free. For more information, see their web site.
Employment History Request
To request a copy of your employment history report, call 1-866-312-8075.
Tenant History Request
To request a copy of your tenant history report, call 1-877-448-5732.
Opt Out of National Ad Network
This is an online form that assists in opting out of online ads from your computer.
Free Credit Report
www.ftc.gov or call (877) 322-8228
California Unclaimed Property Search
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