Opt Out: Save Money & Trees

Nov 14, 2011 by

Offers to lend money once comprised a large chunk of our postal mail. The money lending industry calls these “pre-screened” solicitations. I call them junk mail of an especially annoying sort.

Pre-screened offers–sometimes called “pre-approved”–use information in your credit report that indicates you meet the solicitor’s criteria.

Stop the Pre-screened Offer Onslaught

As a general rule, if I’m in the market for something–especially a loan or insurance–I want to be the one doing the research and choosing, not the other way around. So I learned to recognize the telltale signs on the envelope of pre-screened junk and tossed them unopened in the recycling bin.

Fed up one day, I took action. As a result, my mail carrier’s burden, my environmental footprint, and my household’s trash flow have eased noticeably.

You can opt out of pre-screened solicitations either for five years or forever. I chose forever (which I hope will prove longer than five years). To opt out of pre-screened junk offers, phone toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

Scare Tactics

Because the industry makes huge money from pre-screened offers, you may encounter warnings of dire consequences of opting out. Keep these facts in mind:

  1. Opting out does not affect your credit score.
  2. Opting out does not affect your prospects for obtaining credit or insurance.
  3. If you believe by opting out you’re going to miss out on offers made only to “special” people like you, then I’ve got a very nice bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Go Whole Hog

Are you liking this opting out thing? Take another step. The Direct Marketing Association lets you opt out of receiving junk mail from many national companies for five years. To register, go to www.dmachoice.org.

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