Scam Surrounding Opt Outs
Were you thrilled when you heard there’s now a federally mandated list that you can get on that will take your name off marketing mailing lists? Lots of people were. Scammers, it turns out, liked it too. Consumers have reported receiving automated calls asking for their Social Security numbers or other personal information in order to opt out of marketing mailing lists.
Just what is the National Opt Out service? In a nutshell, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus) to provide your name to companies that want to offer you credit or insurance. You may not have contacted these companies – may never even have heard of them. But their junk mail winds up in your box. Fortunately, the FCRA also allows you to tell credit reporting agencies to take your name off those lists – effectively allowing you to “opt out” of getting certain types of unsolicited marketing mail.
Enterprising scammers have apparently figured out a way to turn this to their advantage. Automated calls tell people they need to provide sensitive personal or financial information in order to opt out. Some reports have indicated that the caller ID number that appears on these automated calls is (302) 268-6660.
If you get this kind of call, the best move to make is to hang up. The National Opt Out service does not make outbound phone calls, so calls offering marketing opt out are not authentic. If you want to participate in the National Opt Out service, you can visit their website at www.optoutprescreen.com or call the program’s automated line at (888) 5OPT-OUT (888-567- 8688).
If you’ve already provided your Social Security number or other sensitive information on a call that you didn’t initiate, you may want to consider adding an initial fraud security alert to your credit report as a precaution. You can do this by visiting Experian’s Fraud Center atwww.experian.com/fraud, or by calling the consumer reporting agency at (888) 397-3742. Experian will share your request with other national credit reporting agencies.
This isn’t the only thing to be on the lookout for when it comes to protecting your identity. There are many resources to protect your identity and online products like freecreditscore.com provide tools for identity protection and fraud resolution.