News & Events

PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY AND OPT-OUT

The increasing sophistication of computers and telecommunications networks has brought consumers many conveniences. But advanced technologies pose serious threats to privacy. Most of you are familiar with what happens when your privacy has been compromised. Your phone rings off the hook with calls from telemarketers or your mail box overflows with junk mail. You may even be the victim of identity theft, the fastest growing crime in America.

Below are some helpful tips that can help you protect your privacy and help safeguard you from identity theft.

Protect your financial privacy
Tell financial companies that they may not sell or share your customer data with other businesses outside their group of affiliated companies. Federal law requires banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and brokerage firms to send you a privacy notice each year, giving you the opportunity to “Opt-Out” of having your personal information sold or shared with unrelated companies. If you do not remember receiving a privacy notice, ask your financial company to mail you one.

Reduce telemarketing calls
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established a national “Do Not Call” list where consumers can register to have unsolicited calls blocked. Consumers can register with the FTC on the internet at www.ftc.gov or by calling toll free 888-382-1222. Remember, if you obtain a new phone number, you will need to list it with the FTC.

You can also ask telemarketers to put you on their “Do Not Call” list. Federal law requires them to maintain a list of consumers who ask not to be called. However, you must notify each company individually.

Reduce junk mail
Many mail order firms, magazines and credit card companies provide a box to check if you do not want your name, address and shopping habits sold to other companies. Be sure to find and mark this box. This includes orders on the internet.

Participate in the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Send your name and address to; Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
You will be added to a list of people who do not want to receive mail from the “major” nationwide catalog and marketing companies. However, this will not stop all junk mail. For other types of unwanted junk mail, you have to deal with each mailer directly.

In general, be aware that when you provide your name, address, phone number and other personal information, your name could end up on mailing lists. The following activities often result in junk mail and telemarketing calls;

• Filling out warranty and product registration cards
• Listing your phone number and address in the phone book
• Joining or donating money to clubs, organizations or charities
• Subscribing to magazines, book clubs and music clubs.

Also, be aware that when you make any major life change; marriage, birth, home sale, home purchase, move, divorce; a government agency records the event. Many files are open to the public and are used by marketers to compile lists. Though you generally cannot make public records private, you can write to companies that have put you on a mailing list and ask to be deleted.

Get your name off mailing lists for pre-approved offers of credit
Notify the credit bureaus that you do not want to receive pre-approved credit offers by calling (888) 5 OPT-OUT or (888) 567-8688.

We hope the information and resources contained in this issue of the City Scene will help you obtain control of your personal information and protect your privacy and identity. If you have a question regarding this topic or identity theft, please contact the Sonora Police Department.

The staff of the Sonora Police Department wishes you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.