Opt out of credit-card junk mail, securely

Hate all the preapproved credit-card junk mail you get week after week? In our April 2009 issue, we ran a story on how to reduce packaging waste and included 7 quick tips. This list provided a phone number for opting out of automatically mailed, preapproved credit card offers, which account for some of the 100 billion pieces of junk mail that Americans receive every year. However, readers have alerted us that the number provided in the story, 888.567.8688, is an automated system that asks for personal information, including your social security number. Is this safe?

According to the article author, Jason Stevenson, it is. While you're right to be cautious about giving out personal information, he explains that this service is secure: “The number (888.567.8688) was set up by the four major credit reporting bureaus as a way for people to opt out of getting credit-card solicitations and also to prevent identify theft. Go to the website, optoutprescreen.com, to learn more about their security measures and to opt out online. Your personal information is not required but will help ensure correct processing; in addition, the website’s security protocols are designed to protect your information from unauthorized access or alteration.” This is the ONLY site authorized by these firms for opting out of those mailings.

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