Midwest Professional Woman's Group Blog

Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group

4 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 10, 2010

It seems like identity theft is on everyone’s mind these days. In addition to zealously guarding credit card information and being on the alert for cyber theft, there are other effective ways to prevent people from capturing your data.

The Better Business Bureau points out that some forms of unsolicited mail can put consumers at risk of identity theft. Who knew??? Here’s what you should do.

First, opt out of all “free” credit card offers. Pre-approved credit cards are an easy target for identity thieves because they can steal incoming mail and open fraudulent accounts under your name. And you don’t want to just shred the contents of the envelope (by the way, never simply tear the letter in half and toss it in the trash). You can call 1.888.567.8688  or log onto www.optoutprescreen.com and opt out of credit card offers for at least three years.

If unwanted catalogs are jamming up your mailbox, you can spend time contacting each company individually or you can stop mass mailings by emailing Abacus, an alliance of catalog and publishing companies, at optout@abacus-us.com. Be aware that some catalog companies give your name to others, so you could receive unwanted mail indefinitely if you don’t take this step.

Some mail can be stopped by contacting the Direct Marketing Association, an organization representing 5,200 companies that use phone, mail and the Internet to pitch products directly to consumers. It can take up to six months for unwanted mail to stop, but it’s worth logging on to www.dmachoice.org.

I happen to love coupon packs but I know many people who don’t. If you’re in the latter group, go to www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionForm and get off the list. And if you’re getting unwanted “resident,” “occupant” or “our friends at” mailings, call Valassis, formerly known as ADVO Inc., at 888.241.6760 or go to www.advo.com/consumersupport.html.

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