By Ken Bajema of The Hume Group
Take the Extra Step to Protect Your Privacy
I have not applied for a consumer loan for years but recently had reason to apply for a home loan. After locating a reputable local lender and filling out a loan application. This included a credit check, I started to receive calls at home from other lenders. I thought this was strange. I had never opted in for my lender to share my personal information with other lenders. What benefit could there be to my lender to share my information with competitors?
It turns out that my lender had not shared my information. In fact, other lenders were taking advantage of a federal law that allows the creditors themselves to identify potential customers for the products they offer, and then market directly to them.
To avoid this nuisance, prior to applying for a loan or pre-qualification letter from a lender, visit the www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Here you can block most creditors from getting your personal information. When you call this toll-free number or visit the website, you will be asked to provide certain personal information. This includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. Opting out of prescreened offers does not affect your ability to apply for credit or to get it.
To take this a step further you can put your phone number on the federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry. This can reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. Your number stays on the registry for five years, until it is disconnected, or until you take it off.
If you would like additional information or to receive a free copy of your credit report, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer website at www.consumer.ftc.gov