ID Fear Factor: The Sequel

Sometimes, it seems like much of life is a crap shoot, doesn't it? Still we have to do what we can to keep civilization from falling down around our ears and protect our hard-earned reputations and finances from the barbarians at the gate. With that thought in mind, as promised, here's more about what you can do to prevent identity theft. I'll list the hard copy way to take action as well as the web way.

3 Steps To Opt Out

1. Just say NO to pre-approved offers of credit for all three credit bureaus. Opt out by calling 1-888-567-8688 (that's 888 5OPTOUT). You can select a 5-year opt-out period or permanent opt-out status.

You can also go online to opt-out. The URL is just in case you want to write it down.

2. Remove your name from mail marketing lists at the Direct Marketing Association by writing a letter and requesting removal. You must also send $1.00 by check or money order to: Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

Online, you can go to and register without charge.

3. Remove your phone number(s) from telemarketing lists by calling the Federal Trade Commission's DO NOT CALL Registry at 1-888-382-1222.

Or go online to and register your phone numbers.

Free Credit Report

One final thing you should do every year is order your free credit report. That's one of your rights under the law so call 1-877-322-8228 to order your copy.

Online, visit or for more information check out which was prepared by the FTC. (Link updated 09/07/2012).

(Note: 09/07/2012 For more information about credit reports, please visit )

Privacy Rights: A Big Farce

There's one thing I recommend doing, but businesses have made this one extremely difficult to follow through with in most instances. That's completing the Privacy Rights form and tell the businesses you interact with to NOT share your information.

However, as I've said, this is often an arduous process. Each time I've been instructed to call a number to opt-out, I've spent no less than an hour on the phone. You get handed from person to person with no one knowing what to do to record the fact that you don't want your information shared. Now, this is an area that the legislators ought to address. The process should be one where the consumer is automatically opted out and must call or mail something to have the private information shared.

If you want to know more, visit to find out about the privacy rights issue.

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