On Your Side Alert: Unwanted offers - You can Opt-Out

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A viewer calls 12 after her mailbox is flooded with offers. They included a way to stop the mailings -- but then asked for something that stopped her cold.

Maybe you've received one of those pre-screened mailing. Most times, you may trash it but one viewer wanted them to stop. A notice at the bottom gave her a number to call. Sounded good -- until she was asked for her Social Security Number. We took her concerns to Postal Inspector, Michael Romano. "All of those offers were valid and the Opt-Out information was accurate and true," Romano explains.

Inspector Romano says the Opt-Out program is legitimate. It's a service by the major Credit Bureaus to stop unwanted credit card and insurance mailings. Consumers can go to OptoutPresceen.com to learn more about the program. Romano also confirms that if you sign up, you will have to submit your Social Security Number. "You are going to have to share your personal information. If you want to be removed from these websites and from the pre-screening offers, they need to verify that in fact it is you," he tells us.

Inspector Romano says even though the offers and the phone numbers are legitimate, the viewer made the correct decision by asking questions. He says when it comes to your personal information, never let your guard down. "What we would tell customers to do is to make sure they are calling the correct phone numbers and if they are on a website, make sure your browser is secure, locked and you have up to date virus protection," he says.

Another safety tip, you should be contacting the company. If someone is calling you or emailing you, Romano says it's probably not valid. "Do a browser search and run it through a popular search engine. If it is an offer that looks like it is too good, you will see posts on there about people posting things about the vendor or whoever sent you the thing and ultimately there may be complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau," Romano says.

Also, keep in mind, you can report suspicious mail to the United States Postal Inspection Service.

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