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You’re probably used to receiving a steady trickle of credit card, car insurance and other financial offers in the mail. When you apply for a mortgage, however, that trickle can quickly become a deluge of marketing phone calls, emails and letters.

Why does this happen? It’s because credit reporting companies are allowed to sell your credit information – and that’s exactly what they do. The businesses that buy your information then use it to contact you with financial offers. These are known as “prescreened”, “preapproved” or “firm” offers.

This sale of your credit details, and the solicitations that often follow, can create three problems for you:

  1. It can be annoying: The large number of calls, emails or letters you may receive can be frustrating, especially when you’re in the process of getting a loan.
  2. It can be misleading: If you’re applying for a mortgage, solicitors may falsely claim to be working with your lender, or they may use other deceptive sales tactics.
  3. It can be risky: The more people have access to your personal information, the greater your risk of identity theft.

Thankfully, the credit industry offers a way for you to block these prescreened solicitations and the trade of your credit information.

You can opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.

While we respect your right to manage your privacy and consider financial offers as you see fit, we recommend opting out for the reasons above. Opting out does not impact your credit scores or credit reports, and it does not affect your ability to obtain new credit.

You may choose to opt out for five years or indefinitely, and you may opt back in using the same phone number or website at any time. Opting out halts the exchange of your information for “firm offers” on all credit and insurance products, including credit cards and car insurance.

If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, opting out earlier rather than later is usually best. Your opt-out request will be processed within five days, but it may take up to 60 days before the prescreened offers stop. If you’ll be applying for a joint mortgage, both individuals on the mortgage will need to opt out to be protected from the related solicitations.

You can read more about prescreened offers and the opt out process at this Federal Trade Commission webpage: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0127-getting-mortgage-offers