BBB advises dangers of junk mail

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Mehgaan Jones


Scammers and fraud artists may be lurking through your garbage, searching for personal information in junk mail, that has been thrown away.

That's according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is offering advice on ways to reduce unwanted junk mail, and protect consumers against identity theft.

One way to reduce unwanted junk mail, is to eliminate pre-approved credit card offers, the BBB advised in a media statement.

"It is important for consumers to shred or destroy any pre-approved credit card offer," said BBB spokeswoman, Dottie Callina, in a written statement.

She added that identity thieves can take pre-approved offers and open accounts in your name.

"People should take an extra step and shred...junk mail," said Callina.

She explained that scammers pull junk mail out of mailboxes, and out of garbage.

Scammers are looking for any information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers, to obtain necessary information to open an account, or use credit card information, the release stated.

According to Callina, to stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers, consumers can call 1-888-567-8688 or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

"Consumers will be asked for personal information including their Social Security Number, address, name and birth date [to end the pre-approved credit card offers]," the statement explained.

The BBB also urges consumers to watch out for solicitations sent to children.

"If you are receiving mailed advertisements or credit card offers for your children who are under the age of 13, it might be a sign of theft," said Callina.

She added that parents should contact the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to inquire about their child, and notify them of the situation.

"Check your credit reports...I cannot stress that enough," said Callina.

Consumers can inquire about credit card offers, or credit card reports, through Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, Experian: 1-888-397-3742, and TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289.

Another way people can reduce junk mail is to contact the Direct Marketing Association, which is a trade association with almost 3,600 organizations that send direct mail. The Direct Marketing Association can be contacted at www.dmachoice.org.

"It is important to note that your junk mail will not be completely eliminated by contacting these companies; however it will help reduce the amount you are receiving," the release said. "Also, some companies may take longer than others to process your request (some up to six weeks); ...don't be discouraged if you still receive mail you recently opted out of."

Fore more tips on becoming a savvy consumer visit www.bbb.org.