What you can do; CR Quick Take

Consumer Reports

October 2006

CR INVESTIGATES: Your privacy for sale.; WHAT YOU CAN DO

SECTION: Pg. 41 Vol. 71 No. 10

LENGTH: 341 words

While you have no control over much of the data collection and sharing that occurs, you can limit the amount of information circulating about you. Also, checking the accuracy of those records that you’re entitled to see allows you to spot signs of ID theft and fraud.

Opt out of:

Telemarketing. Put your name on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call registry by going to www.donotcall.gov or calling 888-382-1222.
Unwanted solicitations. Ask financial institutions, retailers, and Web sites not to share your information with other nonaffiliated companies. Contact the Direct Marketing Association at www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html; for unsolicited e-mail, www.dmaconsumers.org/consumers/optoutform_emps.shtml.
Sales of your information to others. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse lists data brokers that offer limited opt-out policies at www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm.

Keep your information private:

Don’t fill out surveys on warranty cards. Just provide your name,
address, and necessary product information, and your warranty will be honored. Be careful with direct-mail surveys that don’t come from companies with which you already do business.
Don’t provide sensitive information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or you’re sure that it’s from an organization you trust. If in doubt, contact the organization.

Check what’s on file about you:

Order your free annual report from each of the major nationwide credit-reporting companies once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Request your files from the major data brokers: ChoicePoint at www.choicetrust.com and LexisNexis at www.lexisnexis.com/terms/privacy/data/obtain.asp

You can call Acxiom at 877-774-2094 or send e-mail to [email protected].

Get medical information. If you’ve applied for individual health-or life-insurance policies within the past seven years, the MIB Group keeps data that insurers use to help determine your rates. Get a report by calling MIB toll-free at 866-692-6901.

LOAD-DATE: October 2, 2006



Copyright 2006 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.
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