Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Opt Out

Junk mail is something we have grown to accept. So what if it aids in deforestation and identity theft. Its a right that corporate America believes is as important as the freedom of speech. But after a lot of pressure from consumer groups the major credit agencies have agreed to offer people the option to opt out.

By opting out, you are telling the credit agencies to not sell your financial information to other interested parties such as the Nigerian financial scam artists. Now, finally, the three credit agencies (TransUnion, Experion, and Equifax) have said "if you beg we will not sell your data to thieves." Thank you. You can opt out by going here www.OptOutPrescreen.com.

So you think you are safe, right? Wrong!!!!! The credit agencies are not the only ones with your data and are not the only ones selling your data. Your own credit card company, your bank, your insurance company, your mortgage company has your data and is actively selling your information to anyone who pays. Thats how you get that junk mail offering you better rates on your mortgage and thats how one day you realize that someone has stolen your identity or wiped clean your account.

Now these banks and mortgage companies are not as evil as I make them out to be. No Sir, they are worse. For example I just got a letter from Washington Mutual telling me of all the options I have to opt out. But this is what really pissed me off:

Washington Mutual wants me to opt out by sending them a written request or by calling them during business hours. Hmmmm! Let's analyze this a little. Washinton Mutual has a web site that they say is state of the art. You can handle any kind of online transaction. You can manage your mortgage, make payments, make extra payments, etc. So how come I cannot log on and simply check a box that says Opt Out?

How come Washington Mutual? How come?

And dear consumer, Washington Mutual is not the only one. 100% of all financial intitutions that I deal with (I deal with at least 20) have requested written or phone based opt out. Not one, I repeat not one says log on to your account and opt out.

I guess they want to make it as difficult as possible for you, the consumer, from stopping them, the banks, from selling your information to thieves and crooks. Why do you think they (the banks) sell you those credit protection policies? Its so that when they sell your information to a thief, you can be protected.

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