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One Step Ahead
May 6, 2008, Volume 54, No. 32

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Removing Your Name from Solicitation Mailing Lists

Identity thieves approach their task in different ways. Some steal wallets and use personal information to open new accounts;  some steal credit card data to run up charges on existing accounts.

And many do the following: look through trash dumpsters to find tossed out pre-approved credit card offers, forge the signature of the person whose good credit history qualified them for the offer, and then submit a change of address. The result is that a new credit card can arrive at a new address to be used by an imposter to incur, and never pay, new charges.

There are steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood of this type of identity theft. If you are not interested in pre-approved credit offers that come in the mail, you can use a shredder to make the offer unuseable to someone going through your trash.

Or you can avoid receiving such offers altogether—and you have the right to do so! The three national credit bureaus provide an easy and convenient way to limit the kinds of solicitations you receive by having your name removed from various lists. To stop receiving many major pre-approved credit offers, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

Keep in mind that use of these services will not necessarily end solicitations from all sources with which you conduct business or have a relationship. To stop receipt of offers from these groups—as well as mail addressed to “occupant” or “resident”—write to each source directly or take advantage of opt-out options they have made available (for example, Penn maintains an easy-to-use opt-out process for its own credit card program: just visit www.upenn.edu/optout or dial (215) 898-IDEA).

Consider the risks and your interest in specific or all credit offers, and make the choice that is right for you.


To receive weekly OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - May 6, 2008, Volume 54, No. 32