Identity Theft, Credit Reporting, etc.

Had breakfast with a few colleagues this weekend and we're all privacy-intrigued people, and we ended up talking about the whole ChoicePoint fiasco a few weeks back. Well, I'm reading the news today and stumble across this article talking about how Equifax will be highlighting their “Credit Watch” product, a kind of insurance/notification system of sorts that reports activity. Of course, it comes at a price. Capitalism at it's finest, no?

So I forward the link onto my fellow cinnamon roll-for-breakfast eaters, and Rose hits me back with:

Right, and here's my other favorite new thing. You can tell all the credit agencies that you want to disallow anyone checking your credit without your approval. You can get on an opt-out list so you no longer get pre-approved credit offers, etc. How do you do it? Oh, it turns out: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ does it. (It's legit, we checked it with the BBB). Can you find that website on any of the 'big four' credit agencies? Don't be silly! Why would they want you to opt-out of their cash cow? Er, and why again do we have to pay to see our own records (except that one free copy per year?). Their day will come, my friends, oh yes it will.

[… snip …]

In the interest of full disclosure – each of the big four list 800-numbers somewhere on their sites to do the same thing, but again – you really have to hunt to find it.

Guess I'm filling out some web-forms tonight. Maybe I'll save a few trees in the process since I won't be getting so many pre-approval forms.

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