I know every single person deals with the issues of unwanted organizations or frauds contacting you. If you don't like the idea of your information being sold, randoms getting your information, minimizing your footprint on the internet, and protecting your information from predators, then this article is right up your alley. Today I am going to discuss some of the most important opt out services you can utilize to help protect yourself and remove your personal data from these data brokers out there.
If you or your kids are in school and you wish to not have this information disclosed, opt out. Have unwanted credit card inquiries, phone calls, or bank or savings account information being available? You're going to want to check this out and pass it along to your friends and family as well. It will take some time to go through all of these links, but that is how many data mining companies that are out there hoarding your data for anyone to buy and use.
1. The National Do Not Call Registry -
This is a list of numbers that telemarketers are not supposed to call and is managed by the Federal Trade Commission. Being on this list does not stop someone from contacting you if you have done business with them in the last 18 months. Telemarketers are supposed to provide an easy to use method to opt out of any telephone calls if they are contacting you by law. Lets get to the important stuff though, how do we opt out of this?
- Opt out by phone: Call 1-888-382-1222
- Opt out by TTY: 1-866-290-4236
- Opt out online: https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx
To opt out of pre-recorded telemarketing calls from companies who already have a business relationship with you, you should be able to activate a voice or keypress command to opt out. If the pre-recorded telemarketing call is left on a voice mail service or machine, the message should include a toll-free number to call where you can then use an automated system to opt out immediately.
2. How to opt out of prescreened credit card offers and insurance. (Usually 5 years or lifetime at your preference)
Prescreened (sometimes also called “preapproved” or “prequalified”) offers come in one of two ways from credit reporting files maintained by credit bureaus:
- A creditor or insurer may ask a credit bureau for a list of consumers who meet certain criteria, for example, a minimum credit score.
- A creditor or insurer may submit a list of names to a credit bureau to screen for consumers who meet certain criteria.
How to opt out:
(Note: you will be asked to give your Social Security Number to complete this opt-out.)
- Opt out by Phone: 1-888-5OptOut (1-888-567-8688). This is an automated phone system. You will have three choices: you can remove your name for 5 years, add your name back in, or permanently remove your name. When you call in, you will be asked to verify and provide some information such as your name and home phone number. You will also be asked for your Social Security Number.
- Opt out online: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t Note: If you have previously opted out of pre-screened offers, you can also opt back in through this web site.
3. Direct Marketing Association (DMA Opt Outs)
How to opt out:
You can opt out of the DMA lists by visiting the DMA web site. One of the lists requires a $1.00 fee if you mail in the opt out via postal mail.
- Mail Preference Service, usable by anyone. This service is called EDDM, or every door direct mail opt out, and the US Postal Service and the DMA have worked together to create this service. This opt out reduces mail such as catalogs, etc. It also gets your name off of some prospect mailing lists. Online form: https://www.dmachoice.org/register.php. Opting out is free if you opt out online. You can opt out via postal mail for $1.00.
- DMA Email List Opt out. This list will get you off of some mailing lists and may help reduce some unwanted commercial email. Online form: https://www.dmachoice.org/index.php# Good for five years. This list will not act as a total cure for spam.
- Deceased Do Not Contact List. By signing up for this list, you will remove the names of deceased individuals from marketing lists. Online form:https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc_form.php.There is no fee for the list, but you will be asked for a credit card number to verify your identity.
- DMA Do Not Contact Service for Caregivers: For those seeking to remove the names of individuals in their care from commercial marketing lists. Online form:https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/dncc.php.
4. Bank/Financial Institutions opt out (This section applies to banks, credit card companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.)
How to opt out:
You may have received a privacy notice in the mail from your bank or other financial institution. If you missed it, simply ask for a copy of the company’s privacy notice. They are required to have one. The privacy notice may also be posted on the financial institution’s web site. Read the notice closely, and follow the company’s directions for opting out. You can opt out at any time. By law, you are required to opt out in the way the financial institution determines you should, whether by letter or phone or online. We have not listed all financial institutions here, just some of the largest. Any financial institution you do business with should be able to readily point you to this opt out.
- Bank of America: Opt out online: https://www.bankofamerica.com/privacy/consumer-privacy-notice.go Opt out by phone: 1.888.341.5000.
- Citibank: Opt out by phone: 1-888-214-0017. The Citi phone menu will prompt you through your choices. To see the privacy notice, go to https://online.citibank.com/US/JRS/portal/template.do?ID=Privacy and click on Citi bank consumer privacy notice for more information. Note: Be sure to look for the affiliate opt out. For Citibank, a phone opt out appears to be the most straightforward method.
- JP Morgan Chase: Opt out online: https://chaseonline.chase.com/public/privacy/privacyfilter.aspx. To opt out by phone: 1-888-868-8618.
- Wells Fargo: Info at https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/privacy/individuals Note: Online banking customers may log on to a secure session at wellsfargo.com, and choose “Change Privacy Preferences” under the “Account Services” tab to opt out. Opt out by phone: 1-888-528-8460. Note: you can opt out of affiliate marketing and limit direct marketing.
5. Internet and Social Media Opt Outs
How to opt out:
We don’t take the space here to go into the details about each opt out. Some of the sites offer complex opt outs which would require a lot of explanation. Here, we point you in the right direction and encourage exploration. The sites listed here offer plentiful options for opting out. The type of opt-out varies widely by service provider, and we recommend that you spend time familiarizing yourself with the opt outs available at each. The links below will lead you to more information about the opt outs available.
- Twitter: You need to have an account to use the privacy tools. In your Twitter account, click –> Edit Profile –> Security and Privacy. The most important privacy settings for determining whether a tweet will be made public or not are located in the privacy section. See screen shot belo
Screenshot of Twitter privacy settings, (Sept. 26 2013.)
- Facebook: You will need to have a Facebook account to use the privacy tools. In Facebook, go to Account –> privacy settings. In Privacy Settings, you will see a series of options and choices for privacy preferences. These choices change from time to time, and they are complex. Take your time, read carefully, and ask questions. WPF has a series of Facebook Privacy Guides available here. Tip here is make everything less public by selecting friends only!
- Amazon: Find out about choices at http://amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/102-6769060-6468131?ie=UTF8&nodeId=468496#choices. There is a Customer Communications Preferences link at http://amazon.com/gp/gss/ccp/. Note: you will need to sign in before seeing the Communications Preferences page.
- Ebay: After you have signed in to your Ebay account, you can make choices by finding the Preferences link under My Account.
- Yahoo: Sign in to your Yahoo account and look for the Options Link. Click on that link and then click on YAHOO! Delivers. You can then select or unselect what types of advertising email that you want by checking or unchecking boxes with descriptions. Note: if you don’t uncheck the boxes, all boxes will be automatically selected, so watch this closely.
6. Online Advertising opt outs
Advertising opt outs refer primarily to advertising that is sent to you based on information collected online about you. This kind of advertising is called “targeted” or personalized advertising. Some of this advertising is controversial because it can be based on information consumers did not realize was being collected about them for future use. While there are many potential places to opt out, we have selected two key opt outs, the NAI and DAA. Both are important, and offer “one stop” opt outs for numerous advertisers.
How to opt out:
- Step one: You must accept third party cookies for this opt out to work. Open your web browser and check the cookie settings to accept all cookies.
- Step two: Open the following page: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp. You will see a prominent Consumer Opt Out area that shows you how many opt outs you currently have enabled. You can choose to opt out of all companies by clicking the Choose All Companies button. The NAI opt out is relatively simple and straightforward, and is greatly improved from past versions.
- Note: After you have opted out, if you remove the opt out cookies from your computer, the opt out must be repeated. We reiterate: this opt out may be helpful and useful, but it also can be challenging.
Below is an additional list of gathered opt-out links. (Found Here) The links bring you straight to the opt out page which make the process much faster.
TOP 10Acxiom Corporation (NSDQ:AXCM)https://isapps.acxiom.com/optout/optout.aspxOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete an Opt-Out request online (requires a valid email address). Telephone at 1-877-774-2094, and select Path 5.
TOP 10DataLogix Holdings, Inc.https://www.datalogix.com/privacy/#opt-out-landingOnline FormFill out online form.
TOP 10Epsilon Data Management, LLChttp://www.epsilon.com/consumer-preference-centerEmail / Telephone / MailEmail firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 1-888-780-3869. Mail to "Epsilon, P.O. Box 1478, Broomfield, CO 80036."
TOP 10Equifax, Inc. (NYSE:EFX)https://help.equifax.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2/noIntercept/1/kw/prescreenOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete online form at www.optoutprescreen.com. Call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Mail to "Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123."
TOP 10Experian plc (LON:EXPN)http://www.experian.com/privacy/opting_out_preapproved_offers.htmlOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete online form at www.optoutprescreen.com. Call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Mail to "Experian, Opt Out, P.O. Box 919, Allen, TX 75013."
TOP 10Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FICO)http://www.myfico.com/policy/privacypolicy.aspxTelephone / EmailCall 1-888-FICO-EDM (1-888-342-6336). Email request to SharingOptOut@FICO.com.
TOP 10Harte-Hanks, Inc. (NYSE:HHS)http://www.harte-hanks.com/page/privacypolicy#a5Email / Telephone / MailEmail removal request to PSAC@harte-hanks.com. Call 512-434-1100. Mail to "Harte-Hanks, Inc., Attention: Corporate Privacy Manager, 2800 Wells Branch Parkway, Austin, TX 78728 USA."
TOP 10Intelius, Inc.https://www.intelius.com/optout.phpOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete online form. Call 425-974-6194. Mail to "Intelius Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 4145, Bellevue, WA 98009-4145."
TOP 10LexisNexis Grouphttp://www.lexisnexis.com/privacy/for-consumers/opt-out-of-lexisnexis.aspxOnline Form / MailLook up your information. Opt-out only in certain conditions.
TOP 10TransUnion Corp.http://www.transunion.com/corporate/business/datareporting/support/opt-out.pageOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete online form at www.optoutprescreen.com. Call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Mail to "TransUnion, Name Removal Option, P.O. Box 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094."
Data BrokersAmeridexhttp://ameridex.com/newp.phpOnline FormFill out online form.
Data BrokersBeenVerifiedhttp://www.beenverified.com/faqEmailLook up your information. Email information requested.
Data BrokersEmail Finderhttp://www.emailfinder.com/EFC.aspx?_act=OptoutOnline Form / MailLook up your information. Fill out online form.
Data BrokersInfoPay EmailTracerhttp://www.emailtracer.com/tos.phpFax / MailLook up your information. Opt-out only in certain conditions.
Data BrokersInnovis, Inc.https://www.innovis.com/InnovisWeb/pers_lc_opt_out.htmlOnline Form / Mail / TelephoneComplete online form at www.optoutprescreen.com. Call toll free at 1-888-5-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688). Mail to "Innovis Consumer Assistance, P.O. Box 495, Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495."
Data BrokersLocatePeople.orghttp://www.locatepeople.org/index.php?xpath=privacyFax / MailLook up your information. Opt-out only in certain conditions.
Data BrokersLocatePLUShttps://www.locateplus.com/privacy.aspMailPay $25. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersMelissaData.comhttp://www.people-finders.ws/privacy.aspx?popup=trueMailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersMeredith Corporationhttp://www.meredith.com/privacy.html#howwediscloseMailMail request to "Meredith Corporation, Opt-Out Postal, Attn: Circulation, 1716, Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309."
Data BrokersMerlin Information Serviceshttps://www.merlindata.com/privacystatement.asp#OptEmail / MailEmail or fax information requested.
Data BrokersMerkle, Inc.http://www.merkleinc.com/privacyImpossible"Merkle does not collect data directly from consumers except for information collected as part of our clients' marketing programs." (http://www.merkleinc.com/who-we-are-customer-relationship-marketing-agency/our-clients)
Data BrokersPeopleFinders.comhttp://www.peoplefinders.com/privacy.aspxMailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersPeoplelookup.comhttp://www.peoplelookup.com/privacy.phpFaxLook up your information. Fax information requested.
Data BrokersPeopleSearchNow.comhttp://www.peoplesearchnow.com/help/topic.aspx?id=15MailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersPeople Search Prohttp://www.peoplesearchpro.com/PSP.aspx?_act=optoutOnline FormLook up your information. Fill out online form.
Data BrokersPhone Detectivehttp://www.phonedetective.com/PD.aspx?_act=OptOutOnline FormLook up your information. Fill out online form.
Data BrokersPrivateEyehttp://www.privateeye.com/Help/default.aspx?from=hys0359866156&piid=03#RemoveFromRecordsMailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersPublicBackgroundChecks.comhttp://www.publicbackgroundchecks.com/privacypolicy.aspxMailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersPublicRecordsNOWhttp://www.publicrecordsnow.com/?from=hys0359866907&piid=46MailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersUSA People Searchhttp://www.usa-people-search.com/help.aspx#p3MailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersUS Search.comhttp://www.ussearch.com/consumer/ala/landing.do?did=590Fax / MailLook up your information. Fax or mail information requested.
Data BrokersVeromi.nethttp://www.veromi.net/privacy.aspxMailLook up your information. Mail information requested.
Data BrokersWestlaw (Thompson Reuters Corp. NYSE:TRI)http://west.thomson.com/pdf/privacy/opt_out_form.pdfMailLook up your information. Opt-out only in certain conditions.
Data BrokersZABA Inc.http://www.zabasearch.com/block_records/FaxLook up your information. Fax information requested.
Direct MarketersAbacus Cooperativehttp://www.abacusoptout.com/Email / Mail / TelephoneEmail, mail, or telephone information requested.
Direct MarketersAristotle / Voter Lists Onlinehttp://www.aristotle.com/content/view/31/152/EmailEmail information requested.
Direct MarketersChoicePoint Precision Marketinghttp://www.privacyatchoicepoint.com/optout_ext.htmlOnline FormFill out online form.
Direct MarketersCox Target Media (Valpak)http://www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionFormOnline FormFill out online form.
Direct MarketersDirectMail.comhttp://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/Online FormFill out online form.
Direct MarketersDirect Marketing Association (DMA) - Central Mail Opt-Outhttps://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/regist.actionOnline FormRegister. Fill out information.
Direct MarketersDun & Bradstreet Corp. (NYSE:DNB)http://www.dnb.com/US/home/privacy_policy/index.htmlEmail / TelephoneEmail or telephone information requested.
Direct MarketersDex Media (Phonebooks)http://green.dexknows.com/DexGreen/selectDexAction.doOnline Form / TelephoneFill out online form. Call 1-866-606-9339.
Direct MarketersHaines Criss+Crosshttp://www.haines.com/privacy1.htmEmail / MailEmail or mail information requested.
Direct MarketersInfogroup Inc.http://www.infousa.com/StaticPage/PrivacyPolicyInfo.htmEmail / MailEmail or mail information requested.
Direct MarketersMoney Mailerhttp://www.moneymailerdirect.com/PrivacyPolicy.aspxEmail / Mail/ TelephoneEmail, mail, or telephone information requested.
Direct MarketersPublishers Clearing Househttp://www.pch.com/infocenter/privacypolicy.shtml?cm_re=PCH.com-_-TopShell-_-Dec08Privacy#12Email / MailEmail or mail information requested.
Direct MarketersReader's Digesthttp://www.rd.com/privacy-policy/article10660.html#optingMailMail information requested.
Direct MarketersSuarez Corporation Industrieshttp://www.suarez.com/privacy-policy/Email / Mail / TelephoneEmail, mail, or telephone information requested.
Direct MarketersValassis Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCI)http://www.valassis.com/1024/Contact/MailingListRemoval.aspxEmail / Mail / TelephoneEmail, mail, or telephone information requested.
TelemarketersNational Do Not Call Registryhttps://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspxOnline FormFill out online form.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to protect yourself in todays technology data driven world. You don't even realize that your information is being passed around and stored through all of these databases. It does not require your permission because it's considered public knowledge, however, you can step in and take measures to reduce that footprint.
From personal experience, I sat down for a couple of hours and chipped away through all of these links years ago and I saw a definite noticeable difference in spam, mail, e-mail, and phone calls. Not only that, it's worth it knowing that it is that much harder for a random stranger to be able to pay $20 to a database like Intelius to get your personal information they could use to steal your identity. What's worse, is the idea of an unwanted stranger being able to track you or your family down. Do everything you can to protect yourself.
Please, share this important information.