Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers | Consumer Advice

what you need to know about shortlisted offers

what is a “prescreened” or “preapproved” offer of credit or insurance?

Sometimes you may receive credit card or insurance offers that say you’ve been pre-screened or pre-qualified. you receive these offers because of the information in your credit report.

Here’s how it works: The credit card or insurance company decides what it takes for people to qualify for their products. They base their decision on information from people’s credit reports, such as their credit history or credit score. The company then asks a credit bureau, such as Equifax, Experian, Transunion, or Innovis, to provide them with a list of people in their databases whose credit reports show they meet those requirements. They can also give the credit bureau a list of potential clients and ask them to identify people who meet their requirements.

can prescreening hurt my credit report or credit score?

not. There will be “inquiries” on your credit report that will show which companies have pre-screened your information, but those inquiries will not harm your credit.

opt out of receiving shortlisted offers

Can I opt out of these credit and insurance offers?

yes. You can decide you don’t want to receive pre-screened offers of credit and insurance by mail. If you want to opt out of these offers, you have two options:

  • exclude yourself for five years
  • exclude yourself permanently

To opt out for five years: go to or call 1-888-5-opt-out (1-888-567-8688). the major credit bureaus operate the phone number and website.

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To opt out permanently: Visit or call 1-888-5-opt-out (1-888-567-8688) to start the process. To complete your request, you will need to sign and return the Permanent Exclusion Election Form (which you obtain online) once you have begun the process.

When you call or visit, you will be asked for your personal information, including your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your opt-out request.

opt for minor children

Although credit bureaus don’t keep credit files on minor children, if you suspect an identity thief used your child’s information to commit fraud, you can submit an opt-out request. You must submit a written request to each of the credit bureaus. Your letter must include your child’s full name, address, and date of birth. include a copy of your birth certificate, a copy of your social security card, a copy of your driver’s license, or other government-issued proof of identity.

experian p.o. box 9532 allen, tx 75013

transunion p.o. box 505 woodlyn, pa 19094-0505

equifax, inc. p.o. box 740256 atlanta, ga 30374

innovis consumer support p.o. box 495 pittsburgh, pa 15230-0495

Visit to report your minor child’s identity theft and get a personalized recovery plan.

why would someone opt out or not?

why opt out? Maybe you’re not looking for a new credit card or insurance policy, want to limit access to information on your credit report, or want less clutter in your email or mailbox. Please note that if a company’s offer is not based on a pre-screening, the opt-out will not stop their mailings.

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But there may also be reasons why you want these offers, especially if you’re looking for a credit card or insurance:

  • Terms of shortlisted offers may be more favorable than those available to the general public. in fact, some insurance or credit card products may be available only through preselected offers.

If I decide not to participate, how long will it be before I stop receiving shortlisted offers?

Unsubscribe requests are processed within five days, but it may take several weeks before you stop receiving shortlisted offers. This is because some companies may have obtained your information before the site processed your opt-out.

Does opting out hurt my credit score?

Removing your name from shortlisted lists does not affect your credit score or your ability to apply for or obtain credit or insurance.

what if I decide not to participate and then change my mind?

You can use the same website,, or the toll-free number to re-enter.

Will calling 1-888-5-optout or visiting stop all unsolicited offers of credit and insurance?

not. Calling the opt-out line or visiting the site will only stop pre-screened offers based on lists from major credit bureaus. you may continue to receive offers of credit and insurance based on listings from other sources. for example, opting out will not end applications from local merchants, religious groups, charities, professional and alumni associations, and companies with which you already do business. To stop mail from groups like these, as well as mail directed at “occupants” or “residents”, contact each source directly.

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other opt-out programs

What other exclusion programs should I know about?

The national do not call registry was created to stop unwanted sales calls. it’s free to register your home or cell phone number. go to or call 1-888-382-1222 (tty: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you want to register. sales calls can take up to 31 days to stop.

If you’ve already added your phone number to the Do Not Call registry and you’re still getting a lot of unwanted calls, the calls are likely from scammers. (link to article on phone scams) read about how to block spam calls (link to block spam calls (article) to learn what to do about them.

You can decide what types of mail you want and don’t want from marketers. Sign up for the direct marketing association (DMA) consumer website and choose which catalogs, magazine deals, and other mail you want to receive from dma companies. they charge a $2 processing fee and your registration will last 10 years. also has an email preference service that allows you to opt out of receiving marketing emails. To learn more about what else you can do about spam, read this article on spam.

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