Thursday, March 03, 2005

OPT OUT Time!

It's time. I've had it with the credit card offers, life insurance quotes, and "unbelievable opportunities" being mailed to my house. And there is a way to "Opt Out". I am live-blogging (blogging as it happens) my opt-out experience and hope that the information can help you out in retaining (obtaining?) peace of mind.

I found out about a phone number put out by the credit reporting agencies (equifax, experien, etc.) to "opt out" of letting them share your personal information. Please ignore the fact that they should be the ones asking my permission to send out private information. The phone number is 1-888-5OPT-OUT. Well, I called, and the nice lady recording gave me a website www.optoutprescreen.com Great. I'm rollin.

When the site was pulled up, though, it looked kinda funny, and was asking for all of my private information. I was understandably hesitant, as I'm sure all of you savvy readers NEVER give out ANY information to anyone. So, they ask for my address, SS#, Birthdate, and my first dog's favorite food (all but the last one). This is something you never give out without proper background checks.

So with the trusted help of my good friend Google (who is on my bad side right now since they won't list Little Green Footballs as a news source), I found a fellow blogger who has gone through the same thing as myself - Dave. His nice readers forwarded me to EPIC.org, a privacy lobby in washington who support the opt out site and even give a redirect page to it (no direct links to www.optoutprescreen.com because I think the credit companies want to make it harder to 'Opt out') Not convinced yet? Neither was I.

Dave's readers kindly placed this link to the BBB ID theft prevention recomendations, of which, the Opt Out phone number is one of many methods. Convinced? I am. But I won't sign up the DigitalWife until I come out unscathed.

Time to go for the gold... I have three choices: Opt In (shah right), opt out for 5 years, and opt out forever. The last one is my choice.

Oh, they only give me ten minutes to fill out my information. Why? It makes no sense to me other than that they are trying to make it more difficult for the slower population to complete the opt out. In any case, I am running out of time. brb.

I must confirm this information, am I sure? Should I lose out on the opportunity of receiving such wonderous offers? I think so.

Must type in a scambled security code... choose between four different confirmation buttons (to confuse the elderly and non-computer-savvy) Click "Confirm".

Yay! It's done! I get the normal disclaimers - you might get mailings from companies for the next few months, and also from companies who get my name from other sources.

In any case, I will report back with information on how Opt Out works ( I will have the DigitalWife to compare to).

P.S., If you're annoyed by telemarketers, go to www.donotcall.gov - it's legit... trust me!

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