ANCHOR: Companies make lots of money by selling your personal information to other companies.

ANCHOR: But you can stop them. Money and real estate expert Ilyce Glink joins us with some details on how to “opt out” and keep your personal information private.

Good morning.

ILYCE: Last week, we talked about how to put a limit on junk mail. But there’s an even better way to stop the flow of your personal information to other service and marketing companies. New federal laws now require banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and other financial service providers to tell you how they use and protect your personal information. And, they are required to give you an opportunity to opt out of the companies information sharing program. The way they do this is to mail you a brochure that looks like this one:

Bank 1 One Privacy Notice

ILYCE: If you weren’t paying attention, you’d probably throw it out. But inside, it tells you how the company collects your personal information.

How companies collect your information

Application or in-person visit
Web browser
Transactions with any related companies
Consumer reporting agencies
Other sources

ILYCE: Companies share your information within their own corporate world, to the different companies they own, and they share information with outside companies, vendors and organizations with whom they do business. The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the opportunity to limit the sharing of information both within the company and to the other companies with whom they do business. Now, your company will tell you that limiting their ability to share information means you may be giving up products, services and special offers. But I say “SO WHAT?” In the interest of protecting yourself against identity theft, not to mention your right to privacy, you should opt out of all information sharing arrangements. You can do this by calling the toll-free number listed throughout the book.

Get rid of junk email while you’re at it

Published: May 29, 2001