We’ve all found our mailbox stuffed with credit card offers we never signed up for.
How can they send those envelopes that say “you’ve been pre-approved?”
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits creditors to obtain limited consumer credit report information to use to send you unsolicited offers, under certain circumstances.
So, what are those “certain circumstances,” and when do creditors run afoul of this practice known as “prescreening?”
Firm Offer of Credit
The term “firm offer of credit” means any offer of credit to you that will be honored if the information on your credit report meets the criteria for that specific offer.
If a creditor intends to use prescreened lists to make unsolicited offers of credit, they have to do two things:
- Establish the criteria that will be relied upon to make the offer, and
- Maintain that criteria on file for three years after making the offer to you.
The FCRA mandates that all creditors must be meet its compliance requirements when issuing written offers of credit on the basis of information contained in your credit report.
In addition, they have to make these things clear when extending an unsolicited offer of credit to you:
- That they used information from your credit report to select you for the offer,
- That you received the offer because you satisfied the criteria they set forth for screening,
- That you have the option of opting out of having your credit report information used in connection with any further “prescreened” offers.
How do I opt out of prescreened offers (junk mail)?
You can opt out by doing one of these three things:
- Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
- Visit the website: www.optoutprescreen.com
- Contact the notification system established by the credit bureau that provided the report. The statement must include the address and toll-free telephone number of the appropriate notification system.