Five Steps to Protect Your Privacy and Identity

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These five steps allow you to opt out of certain information sharing. These steps usually take an hour or less to complete. The reduction in marketing will be significant.

1. Opt out of prescreening by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Opting out of prescreening should reduce the volume of those "preapproved" credit card offers by as much as 90%. This will also opt out of "mortgage triggers."

2. Opt out of "CPNI" sharing by calling your phone companies. CPNI stands for customer proprietary network information (CPNI) and is the information about a consumer's telephone calls that telecommunications companies collect. This information includes the time, date, duration and destination of each call, the type of network a consumer subscribes to, and any other information that appears on a consumer's phone bill.

3. Opt out of the sharing of some of your financial information by calling your banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses to opt-out under *both* the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (sometimes there is no option to opt-out of FCRA, but you can almost always opt-out under GLBA). Note that this probably isn't necessary with your credit union as most don't sell member information.

4. Opt out of telemarketing by visiting the FTC do-not-call site or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to put on the list. For TTY, call 1-866-290-4236.

5. Reduce the amount of junk mail in your physical mail box by opting out of mailings by members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) by using their Mail Preference Service.

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