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Identity Theft Tips: Did you know you could stop pre-approved credit card offers?

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of tips to help Creditnet readers protect themselves against identity theft. Check out last week's article on mixing up your online passwords.

It's week 3 in our 5-part series on tips to prevent identity theft, and this week we're just going to jump right into it; pre-approved credit card offers aren't just misleading - they also put you at risk for identity theft.

With the right information, a potential identity thief can use one of these pre-approved credit card offers to open up a line of credit in your name. And guess what? They're not planning on picking up any of the tab...

Many victims of identity theft have been shocked to learn that their score has plummeted due to outstanding credit card debts on an account that they had no idea even existed. Fixing this can take months - if not years - and there's no telling what that could do for your chances at a loan, a mortgage or even a job. And think about how many pre-approved offers you receive in a month; heck, even a day. It's a lot, right?

Shredding pre-approved snail mail credit offers is one way to keep possible fraud'ers at bay, but unless your mailbox has a lock on it, there's still the possibility that (not to get all paranoid on you) someone could reach right into your mailbox and take one of these pre-approved offers. That's not to say that this offer is a now a "free ticket" to fraud - there are still fields to fill out and information to gather - but it certainly makes consumers more vulnerable to ID theft.

So what's the step before shredding those pre-approved offers? Keeping those offers from reaching your mailbox in the first place. And yes, you can do this.

OptOutPrescreen.com works in association with the major credit bureaus to allow consumers to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. You can opt out online or through snail mail, and they'll give you the pros and cons of opting out via a 52-page report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (We would recommend skimming it.)

If you hate junk mail, hate mail-card offers and prefer to research credit cards online (hey, that's us!), this is one way to save a tree or two while helping to protect yourself from identity theft, 

on Thu, 2013-06-27 13:35