Is it okay with you that many companies are able to purchase your personal information? Including your social security number, credit card spending habits, account balances and monthly income information, and even much more?
Your bank, credit card company, insurance company and other companies are legally able to sell your personal information to telemarketers, direct mailers, retailers and others.
Have you ever read the privacy notices you receive in the mail? Most people simply through these away. These notices are not junk mail. You are given the option to refuse to have your personal information sold. But if you don't respond to the notice or contact the company directly, your personal information may be heading out their door.
There have been a few cases of criminals actually purchasing the information for identity theft purposes. This is rare, but one more reason to safeguard your information.
Your choice to opt-out is limited - that is why you must read your privacy notices.
If you've been tossing them away all of these years, you can still protect your financial information by contacting each of the financial institutions you do business with and telling them not to disclose your information to non-affiliated companies. Some may ask you to submit your request in writing, which goes into your file.
When you receive a privacy notice in the mail it is important that you read it through. Follow the instructions in the notices to have your information remain private. You may need to complete a form, write a letter or call a toll-free number.
In today's world, it is increasingly important to protect your financial information. Do this by reading all mail that comes through your door. Anything with account numbers or credit card offers should be shredded. Don't just assume that nothing will happen.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, according to the FBI. There are many ways you can protect yourself. Don't give your social security number to anyone who doesn't have to have it. Ask your doctor's offices if you can use a different number instead. Don't give any personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone or email. Hang up and call the company to verify the authenticity of the communication. They will have in their records whether or not they need additional information from you.
Don't leave your mail in your mailbox. If you are sending mail, make sure that take it out in the morning, not in the evening. Don't let it sit in the box. While the thief may not be able to cash the check, he now has your checking account number and other account numbers.
Even if your information isn't obtained by a thief, there is still an upside of opting out - you won't receive as many telemarketer calls and junk mail. That's always a plus. Protecting your personal information is your responsibility.
Martin Lukac represents http://www.RateEmpire.com and http://www.1AmericanFinancial.com , a finance web-company specializing in real estate and mortgage rates. We specialize in daily updates, mortgage news, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies!