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Today I received a platinum First USA card in the mail. I never filled out an application for this card. They just decided to send me one. I have never dealt with this company before.

The card was attached to an offer sheet. Under the card, the sheet had a statement that said security precautions were taken and only I could activate the card.

It scares me that a credit card company would send an unrequested card in the mail. What security feature can they possibly have to keep someone else from activating the card and destroying my credit history. Probably just my social security number.

I read on ZDNet not too long ago that it is not difficult to obtain someone else's social security number.

My question to other Fools is what should I do. Should I ignore this outrage or should I report them to the BBB and other agencies that one of you suggest.
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PSUEngineerFool wrote:
<Should I ignore this outrage or should I report them
to the BBB and other agencies that one of you suggest.>

I think at the very least you should call them and make sure to close the account (assuming you don't want the cards). I was in a similar situation a while back. In my case, my wife got pressured over the phone and they sent out cards. I saw the cards in the mail, thought it was odd, cut 'em up, and forgot about them. Even though I never activated the cards, the account was on my credit report as opened. Good thing they send those checks at Christmas or I would have never realized it.

Mike
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<<Today I received a platinum First USA card in the mail. I never filled out an application for this
card. They just decided to send me one. I have never dealt with this company before.

The card was attached to an offer sheet. Under the card, the sheet had a statement that said
security precautions were taken and only I could activate the card.

It scares me that a credit card company would send an unrequested card in the mail. What security
feature can they possibly have to keep someone else from activating the card and destroying my
credit history. Probably just my social security number.

I read on ZDNet not too long ago that it is not difficult to obtain someone else's social security
number.

My question to other Fools is what should I do. Should I ignore this outrage or should I report them
to the BBB and other agencies that one of you suggest.>>

I'd also report it to the attorney general. It is illegal to send credit cards out without first receiving an application.

In the dawn of the credit age, credit companies sent out credit cards much like they do the pre-approved applications today. People threw them out like any other junk mail. When crooks got ahold of the credit cards and used them, the people they were sent to were liable -- rather unfair, I think. The law was changed to make it illegal to send the card out without an application, but if you receive a card, you are still liable for any charges on it

Crazyfred
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>> Today I received a platinum First USA card in the mail. I never filled out an application for this card. They just decided to send me one. I have never dealt with this company before. <<

Same thing happened to me. I had gotten a First USA Gold Visa and not too long after that I recieved the Platinum. Knowning that Amex's platinum card is something like $400/year (they've offered, I've declined), I cut it up. Then I got a second and then a third. Finally I called them up and I was told that they want all their customers to have the platinum. No annual charge, lower APR. What the heck, I took it.

I was surprised that they sent me an unrequested card in the mail, but then didn't worry about it too much as they send the requested ones that way. They're not good unless activiated, right? Now, though I see the danger could've been that it was activiated and I would have never known it was even out in the world somewhere. At least if you request one and it never shows up you would start investigating, right?

Anyway, I haven't had any of the problems w/ First USA that others have reported here, but I've just paid off my card, so we'll see how it goes. I have looked back in my records and it does appear to take them an extra day or two to process my payments, but they've never been late.

Eug

PS - For a Fool that has just now gotten his butt out of credit card jail, I greatly appreciate this board and all the advice and encouragment that goes along with it. Keep up the great work!
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<Crazyfred replied>

<<I'd also report it to the attorney general. It is illegal to send credit cards out without first receiving an application.>>

In this case, Crazyfred, First USA may be skirting the law if it is illegal. The card is a platinum Visa but also a phone card. In the offer, they state that the card can be used for an hour worth of calls without activating the Visa account. This may allow them to send Visa cards without an application. To me, it is a sleazy marketing gimmick which I do not appreciate.

By the way, I must be on some hot list for potential customers. I received 2 other platinum offers that day and have been averaging about 2 offers per day over the last 2 weeks.
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<<By the way, I must be on some hot list for potential customers. I received 2 other platinum offers that
day and have been averaging about 2 offers per day over the last 2 weeks.>>

Creditors get your name and address for card solicitations from many different sources. The credit bureaus sell "pre-screened" mail lists to creditors who then use the lists to mail pre-approved credit offers to consumers. One way to slow the flow is to have your credit files blocked from pre-screening by the credit bureaus. To have your credit file "header" (your name and address) suppressed from pre-screening, contact each credit reporting agency below, in writing (preferably by certified-receipt mail):

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Experian-TMS Opt Out
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75002

TransUnion-TMS Opt Out
P.O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288

As I said at the beginning, creditors get your name and address from many sources (magazine subscriptions, alumni lists, etc.) so this won't stop the flow completely, but it's a start.
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<<The credit bureaus sell "pre-screened" mail lists to creditors who then use the lists to mail pre-approved credit offers to consumers.>>

I recently received a copy of my credit report from Experian and I have 4 pages of hits from "inquiry made for prescreen program".

I suggest everyone obtain a copy of their credit report from all 3 agencies. The one I got from Experian was 14 pages long, mostly accounts that have been closed for years (or so I thought). I have been making phone calls and writing letters all week trying to rectify this. I can't wait until I get the one from Equifax, since that is the service that is mostly used in here.

I now commence to writing letters to have my credit file suppressed from future prescreen programs. Thanks for the tip!

Christine
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