I’ve talked in the past about how we were victims of identity theft because of our house burglary. As a result of this experience, I highly recommend that everyone take a moment to freeze their credit, including children, as a precaution. It’s not a matter of if the next identity hack will occur, it is just simply a matter of when. Along with a credit freeze, I also suggest out of opting out of direct mail that may compromise your identity. We’ve had mail stolen as well that contained sensitive data so it is our preference to avoid stressing about it. Here are the steps I took to opt out of the direct mail. (If you are curious how direct mail companies work you can read more about that)
Credit Card Solicitations – this is the #1 thing I prefer to avoid getting in the mail. To opt out of all credit card offers you can do so through the OptOut website, which is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website. I personally did a permanent opt-out, which meant I had to submit my request in writing with their official opt-out form. You can opt out for 5 years via their online form. There are several banks that I bank with that I had to contact directly since I’m a customer with them. You can usually find the information on opting out on the bank Website or call their customer service number to get more info. I did this with Chase and it just took a matter of minutes to remove me. After about 30 days I stopped receiving the offers.
Catalogs – You can register at CatalogChoice.com for help with opting out of catalogs. Each magazine generally has an online opt out or phone number you can call as well, but this Website was very easy to use. Setting up an account just took a few minutes. What I like about this method is that you can keep receiving the catalogs that you’d like to receive and opt out of the rest. If you are a customer with a company it is likely you will need to contact them directly to opt out of only the catalog since you may also receive other mail from them.
Phone Books – You can contact Dex directly to opt out of receiving the phone book. All online at yellowpagesoptout.com.
Other – You might recognize publications like Red Plum or Valpak which come regularly in the mail. We use Valpak sometimes so I don’t opt out of those. (Just a fun note: Valpak is putting $100 checks inside some of their envelopes each month. Maybe you could win!) We also just bought a house so we are enjoying getting some of those home improvement type coupons. If you are interested in opting out of Valpak you can do so on their website. I just opted out of Red Plum on their site and it took just a few minutes. Along with these there may be other companies that send you direct mail because you are a customer. Contact them directly to be removed.
My personal preference is to not receive any bills in the mail so I try to keep all that electronic or auto paid so that information isn’t coming to me in the mail. Places like doctor’s offices don’t do that of course so it seems that getting medical bills is about the only thing we receive these days. On a daily basis we only get 1 or maybe 2 items in the mail. We throw less away and I have less anxiety about things being stolen. We also have updated our mailbox to lock. I would suggest doing that, if you have a mailbox that doesn’t lock. You can pick up a new one at Home Depot or another hardware store. Keep yourself safe and secure!
Have you opted out of direct mail? What have you learned?