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Despite the Financial Modernization Act of 1999 that requires financial institutions under federal law to take steps to protect the privacy of consumers' finances, unwanted solicitation still gets through. Even though the Federal Trade Commission regulates how financial institutions use private information, consumers are still targeted with prescreen credit offers and sales pitches. However, it is possible to take further steps to protect personal financial information from unwelcome advertisers and financial institutions.

Opt out of Prescreen Credit Offers
Prescreened, or preapproved, credit and insurance offers are not just annoying junk mail that clutters counter space. This type of junk mail is a security liability that jeopardizes the recipient’s identity and opens the door to credit fraud. However, it can be stopped. Credit reporting companies offer consumers the option to opt out of these offers. With a simple registration, they can opt out for five years, or even permanently.

Protection from Telemarketers
Even more annoying than junk mail is telephone solicitation. The FCC has rules and regulations in place that limit telemarketers, but the regulations do not stop them all together. Fortunately, the FCC went a step further and joined up with the Federal Trade Commission to create a national Do-Not-Call Registry that can prevent telephone solicitation completely. Once a consumer registers a landline or wireless phone number, it becomes illegal for solicitors to contact that number.

Opt Out of Mailer Advertisements
Unfortunately, a prescreen credit or insurance offer is not the only type of junk mail. Consumer mailboxes are also filled with unsolicited advertisements. Because of this inconvenience, the Consumer Affairs division of the Direct Marketing Association offers a service that removes consumers from national advertisers' mailing lists. This service may not stop all advertisements; however, it will limit the amount received.

Do Business with Reputable Financial Institutions
There may come a time when a consumer will need the services of a financial institution, and it will be necessary to divulge personal information. Fortunately, there are accountable, reputable organizations, like Premium Mortgage Corp., that use financial information responsibly. The time it takes to research a lender can save the borrower an incalculable amount of time, money and hassle.

The hazards and inconvenience of unwanted solicitations can seem insurmountable. The endless phone calls and junk mail have become a part of everyday life, but it does not have to be. With some effort, consumers can put an end to it and protect themselves and their futures.

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