I learned about this Sunday night and thought I'd share it. Like most people, I regularly get credit card offers in the mail (No Capital One, I will not be taking advantage of your wonderful opportunity any time soon). It's not enough to really drive me nuts, but it is annoying (similar to my Google Voice experience).
But for the next 5 years, that annoyance should decrease significantly. I just went to optoutprescreen.com and signed up to remove my name from credit agency's customer lists. Personally, I think it's crazy that they're allowed to include customer's names on lists used by creditors and insurers to make offers, but at least there's a way out thanks to the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003.
All you do is visit their website, or call 1-888-567-6888 (5OPTOUT) and ask to opt out for either 5 years, or permanently.
I chose to do the 5 years because permanently opting out requires you to mail in information, whereas the 5 year option can be done in about 20 seconds online. Plus, I set up a task reminder repeating every 5 years to remind me to do it again, which I'll make permanent if it works. I'm still not sure how long it'll take to notice a drop since, presumably, companies who already have my name will keep it. But hopefully I can expect a decrease over time as new companies don't discover me.
Pretty cool, right? So check out the website and opt out.