Reported by Matt Gephardt
Produced by Cindy St. Clair
(KUTV) For Shelley Love of Salt Lake City, her annoyance with junk mail elevated late last year. She received six credit card offers, all from the same company, all on the same day. But unlike a lot of junk mail, these offers for a Coldwater Creek credit card came with a special offer. Near the bottom it reads, "You can choose to stop receiving 'prescreened' offers of credit by calling toll free 1-888-567-8688."
Shelley says she'd love to stop receiving so much junk mail, so she called the number.
"It said, if you would like to opt out for the next 5 years, enter or say your Social Security number, and I hung up," Shelly said. "You can get your identity stolen that way."
Shelley says she was sure it was a scam and she decided to Get Gephardt to get the word out.
But it turns out, a scam this is not. The letters from Coldwater Creek actually come from Chase Bank. They say that Shelley was "prescreened," meaning the Chase Bank has already looked into Shelley's finances. Credit card companies are allowed to look into your finances without your permission, that is unless you tell them not to.
If you want to stop credit card companies from "prescreening" you, the Federal Trade Commission directs you to optoutprescreen.com
. The phone number on optoutprescreen.com
matches the phone number that Shelley called.
Get Gephardt pointed that out to Shelley, but she remains unsatisfied.
I still don't understand why they would need my Social Security number to opt out of junk mail, Shelley said.
Shelley says she will opt not to opt-out.
I don't trust anybody. I know that sounds bad, but when it comes to my identity I'm not going to give one bit of information that I don't need to.
Get Gephardt asked the three credit bureaus why they need a Social Security number to allow people to opt out of being prescreened. Trans Union was the only one that bothered to respond. They told us they use Social Security numbers to make sure they are talking to the right person when removing their name from the prescreened pool.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)