Tuesday, April 7, 2015

BBB Offers Tips to Reduce Unwanted Solicitations

Burnsville, Minnesota – April 7Unsolicited telephone calls, pre-approved credit card offers and unwanted texts and emails – many containing misleading offers –  are not only annoying, they can sometimes lead to identity theft. While it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate junk mail, spam text messages and unwanted phone calls, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) suggests some steps you can take to get your inboxes and phone lines under control.

“Here in Minnesota, Spam means a classic Austin offering,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Minnesota and North Dakota. “But on the Internet and through texting, messages – classified as spam – sent indiscriminately to large groups of people have caused security issues.”
To reduce the number of unwanted solicitations you receive, BBB advises the following:

Set up a 2nd email account – Use one of your accounts for personal email and the other to sign up for special offers or discount cards. Also, provide as little personal information as possible. Just because a website or retailer asks for your address, telephone numbers or email address doesn’t mean you are obligated to provide them.

Stop pre-approved credit card offers at optoutprescreen.com – Pre-approved credit card offers are an easy target for identity thieves who can steal incoming mail and use these offers to open fraudulent credit accounts.  You can “opt-out” of receiving pre-approved credit card offers for at least five years by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visiting: optoutprescreen.com. This service is offered by the three major credit reporting bureaus.

Put the brakes on unwanted marketing mail -To stop most mailings, visit dmachoice.org and opt-out of mail from members of the Direct Marketing Association. DMA regularly updates its list, but it may take up to six months before solicitations from all DMA members stop.

Reduce telemarketing calls – The National Do Not Call Registry is a free, convenient way to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive at home and on your cellphone. To register a phone number or find out more about the registry, visit donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. You will receive fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Although this will not stop illegal calls, it allows you to file a complaint when the caller is identifiable.

Ignore unsolicited text messages – Telemarketing calls and text messaging to cell phones are illegal, unless you grant permission. If you receive an unwanted marketing text message, contact your wireless provider to get any charges for the text removed, and to block the sender’s number. BBB recommends against responding to spam texts or doing anything to ‘opt-out’ of such offers, because doing so confirms yours is a working number and might open the door for more unwanted text messages.