Credit Card Applications and Identity Theft

Identity thieves steal identities by retrieving credit card offers from trash cans and the filling sending them in using their own addresses. Law professor Jeff Sovern reports that he told his class the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit card issuers to allow consumers to opt out of the applications (15 U.S.C. § 1681b(e)), thus reducing the likelihood that an identity thief will steal their identity.

But most people don’t opt out and instead tear up the applications and his students brought up a MSNBC story about how a consumer tore an application up, then taped it back together, and sent it in using a different address. Chase sent him the credit card anyway.

Prof. Sovern recommends that consumers should opt-out of credit card solicitations. For the FTC’s advice on how to do so, go here.


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