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Mark Atwood
Public Service Announcment.
If you live in the US, tomorrow afternoon, take a half an hour and perform the following public data hygiene:

  1. Put all your phone numbers on the national Do Not Call list.
  2. Go here to put a notation in your credit reporting file that you don't want credit solicitation offers. This stops all the "you have been pre-approved for credit" junk that can trash your life if stolen from your mailbox. There are various "services" that will do this for you for a "low annual fee". They are crooks, as all they do is forward your information to this site.
  3. Go here and print out and post mail the forms to put your name on the "Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service" list. This stops most random catalogs and other assorted junk mail. Once again, there are assorted crooks who offer to do this for a "low annual fee". Ignore them.
  4. Now, gather together your old addresses, account numbers, your SSN, and so forth, and go here to get your free credit report from each of the three reporting companies. They will try to sell you additional services. Don't be confused, just get each report in turn, and print it out, and then rigorously fact check it. If you find blatant errors or evidence of identity theft, start NOW fixing it.

By the end, you will be grinding your teeth at the DMA and credit agency scumballs who are acting like they are doing you a favor.
7 comments or Leave a comment
chemicallace From: chemicallace Date: March 14th, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, if only it were September. I've done everything else, save for the junk mail, and I don't receive any here at the school.
memegarden From: memegarden Date: March 14th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the info.
jimtbari From: jimtbari Date: March 14th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

I get to wait until September to do #4, as well. Some interesting advice I've heard on that is stagger your reports so that you're getting a free credit every four months, rather than doing all three at once once a year.
eirle From: eirle Date: March 26th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)


I found your post through a circuitous route, but I really appreciate the information. Thanks for helping the rest of us be a little more cautious.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: March 26th, 2005 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thanks

You are welcome.

Who are you, and what was that "circuitous route"?
eirle From: eirle Date: March 27th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thanks

I'm just a random livejournal reader from California. I was reading the Do Something Different Day community
and jimtbari mentioned that he followed your privacy advice. I read the entry and realized that I thought it was a good idea!
eirle From: eirle Date: March 27th, 2005 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thanks

Hmmm. I guess I don't know how to link lj communities. The Do Something Different Day community is at /community/dsdday.

7 comments or Leave a comment