I wanted to share an important message regarding identity theft for all of you. Many of you may have heard but just as I was reminded to register for the National Do Not Call Registry, because I receive a deluge of phone calls every day, I was reminded to Opt Out from my credit information being sold. Our credit information is sold by the very own credit bureaus who track your credit information.
Apparently the credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Innovis or Experian) have been capitalizing on your identity. These companies have been collecting the inquiries that are made and are selling them to other lenders and “Name Traffickers” who will purchase and resell it – all without your permission.
Your name, address, phone number (including your unlisted number), credit score, your current debt, your history and property information are all being sold. To protect your identity being sold over and over by the credit bureaus, you can remove your name from these lists. You can either call 1-888-567-8688 or go online to OptOut. You must register either way at least 48 hours before you have your credit checked. There are different time frames you can choose from but at least if you receive a phone call after your credit is checked, you will be aware of other lenders contacting you.
Before you apply for a loan, be aware that other lenders will coincidentally contact you (who have paid for these “hot lists”) to tell you that your information was “given to them” or "passed on to them" because they were able to offer much better interest rates and terms. Yikes! And a lot of the time, you never know your information has been given to a completely different lender.
You as the consumer must protect yourself and be aware of these tactics that are being done all the time. Another bonus of registering your name with the optout program online or by phone, is that it also protects you from the pre-approved credit offers that arrive in the mail. This is one of the leading causes of identity theft, not to mention, the number of inquiries made on your credit report that sometimes can lower your credit score.
I’m sorry to report that this practice of sharing, selling or swapping your information is legal. They are considered just marketing tactics. However, although you have the right to shop for the best service to meet your lending needs, YOU should be the one to choose and not without your consent or understanding on how it is being done.
Also, for a free credit report you can check out your Annual Credit Report too.