Business: Credit Card: Security
Opt Out of All Credit   (+2, -2)  [vote for, against]
Tell all banks you don't want their cards using an online service.

An identity thief can get all your personal information online through criminal information distribution groups, which get your information from deals with low-level employees or janitors working at far-flung affiliates of your bank or hospital. (Citigroup has 2,700 such affiliates, Bank of America has 1,500, and so on. Even the the local jeweler can check your personal information before making a sale.) The thief will get a credit card or a loan in your name and fleece the bank.

I guess it's not your problem because the bank is liable for fraudulent charges if reported in 60 days, but you can only know theft is going on if you check your credit report that often. I think we do end up paying with worse deals at banks trying to recoup losses from fraud.

I would pay a few dollars for an online service that will tell all the banks I don't want their cards and loans. Those banks would know to refuse me if I ask later, since it won't be me but instead a thief posing as me. Plus they could skip the mailings and offers they would have sent me.

I don't know if that kind of request is allowed. Their incentive would be to prevent fraud that would cost them a lot. Your incentive would be to protect your credit score, prevent a really big and potentially expensive hassle, prevent card offer mailings. Whoever offers the online service would make some money charging a price for the many notifications it sends out, since any person would be hard pressed to notify that many credit card companies.

After you opt out of all other credit, the identity thief could only steal from the accounts you currently have open. You already monitor those, so you'll see any fraudulent charges and can dispute them soon enough to avoid further losses or liabilities.
-- Ketchupybread, Jul 24 2009

identity theft protection (US): fraud alert
You probably want an extended fraud alert on your credit report. [jutta, Jul 24 2009]

an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. [Jim Bob of Merriam Park, Jul 24 2009]

Wikipedia's article about the Direct Marketing Association http://en.wikipedia...sociation_%28USA%29
[Jim Bob of Merriam Park, Jul 24 2009]
Opt out of "pre-approved" credit cards. Not the same as what this post calls for. [jutta, Jul 24 2009]

I find it outrageous that services like "LifeLock" etc. expect the victims to pay for this as a separate service. If someone steals from you, that's either a case for the police or for the banks, which should be held liable for damages caused by their poor business practices.

There's quite a number of existing businesses that exploit people's fears of identity theft, including at least some of the credit reporting agencies themselves.
-- jutta, Jul 24 2009

If the police have squad cars to protect us, then perhaps they ought to offer this identity theft protection service.

You're right; there is a real danger of a fraudulent website offering the "opt out all" service.

I read fraud alert is for victims. Fraud alert may hamper credit checks for loans because banks expect more fraud.
-- Ketchupybread, Jul 24 2009

You can get an extended alert if you've been victimized (with police report and all), and a regular one just by asking for it. I guess you could ask every three months.

It will hamper credit checks for all kinds of things, so it's not ideal - but ultimately, your credit is what you're trying to protect in the first place, so it's not too far off the mark.
-- jutta, Jul 24 2009

Baked! You already can opt out of all forms of junk mail, including credit card applications, and it's free.

See the Direct Marketing Association and especially its website

One catch: this only removes your name and address from mailing lists that are bought and sold between businesses. If you have already done business with a certain bank, that bank doesn't have to buy your address—they already have it. So you won't be automatically removed from THEIR list; you'd have to contact that bank individually to ask them to stop sending you mail. But they'd be foolish not to comply with your request and risk losing you as a customer.

That web site has a definite slant, though. They hope to persuade you not to opt out of ALL junk mail but only certain kinds. So expect to see lots of propaganda about how wonderful advertising mail really is. If you have the patience to get past that, you really can opt out.

The Direct Marketing Association, which runs the above web site, certainly IS a legitimate organization. All the big mailing-list vendors are members.
-- Jim Bob of Merriam Park, Jul 24 2009

When it comes to the pre-approved credit cards, the DMA just redirects you to the, unaffiliated, credit reporting industry's opt out site; there, you get to enter all the personal information you just gave the DMA again. (And, of course, your social security number.) Opting out of junk mail is still useful, but it has less and less to do with the subject of this post.

The poster wants banks to not give them (or someone posing as them) credit - it's not just about junk mail, it's about the actual business transaction the junk mail advertises.
-- jutta, Jul 24 2009

so why doesn't my bank issue me a monthly statement (if not empty) listing the inquiries they've had on my account(s) ? ditto SSN: why isn't there holder feedback? You should be able to walk into a SS office, show validating ID and get a printout of every reference that's been made to your number by every party (granted there may be an <x> year hold on criminal investigations in which you are a suspect). More rant available on request.
-- FlyingToaster, Jul 24 2009

This is just a way to opt out of credit cards, and then only ones you don't already have in your wallet. I was hoping it would be a way to opt out of the entire credit system.
-- notexactly, Aug 25 2019

random, halfbakery