Your Money: Always screen pre-screened offer

  • Follow Your Business

Prescreened or pre-approved offers for new credit cards and insurance policies are always arriving in mailboxes. Some folks chuck them without even opening the envelope; others carefully read through the materials before taking action; and many people are not certain what to do.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to consider when deciding whether to respond to prescreened offers of credit and insurance.

• Prescreened solicitations may also be made in a phone call or in an e-mail. Before responding, make certain that you have verified the legitimacy of the company making the offer.

• Prescreened offers are based on information in your credit report that indicates you meet criteria set by the business making the offer. Typically, the creditor or insurer has worked with a credit-reporting company to devise a list of people who meet a minimum credit score or other criteria.

• Prescreening does not hurt your credit record. While there will be inquiries on your credit report showing which companies obtained your info for prescreening, such inquiries will not have a negative effort on your credit score.

If you prefer to reduce or eliminate the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers you receive, you have a couple of choices. You can opt out of receiving them for five years or permanently by using methods provided by the major credit reporting agencies. You may call toll-free at (888) 567-8688 or visit www.optoutprescreen.com for details.

Be aware that you will be asked to provide certain personal information including your Social Security number, so make certain you have dialed correctly or entered the correct URL in your browser. The info you provide is confidential and will only be used to process your opt-out request.

Removing your name from prescreened lists will not affect your ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance. Also be aware that this may not stop all prescreened offers because some companies utilize the lists from trade associations instead of the credit reporting agencies, but you will see a drastic reduction in these offers.


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