I just came across a really useful post on security/privacy blog 27B Stroke 6 discussing various resources available to check what data companies may have and sell about you, as well as how to opt out of some such schemes. I recommend checking out the full article, but in the interest of saving time I'm posting the major points below.
- If you have ever applied for health, life or disability insurance on your own, it's likely the information about your health and lifestyle that you had to provide ended up in a database run by the MIB Group. The easiest way to check your record is by phone at 866.692.6901. The group will then mail you your report if they have one.
- ChoicePoint, the folks who sold 145,000 data reports to Nigerian identity theft scammers in 2004, sells auto and home-insurance risk scores (among other things) and you can check your file for free once a year via their web page
- ChexSystems keeps tabs individual's banking habits and sells that data to banks vetting new customers. Give them a call at 800.428.9623. They also run a system that keeps track of people who have reportedly passed a bad check. Track down that report here or make their phone jingle with this number: 800.262.7771.
- Acxiom, another big data broker, will let you opt-out of their marketing database for free if you call 501-342-2722 and press 5. You can also ask them to send you a form that lets you check the non-marketing information they have on you. They won't let you opt-out of this, and they will charge you $5 for the privilege. Be aware it could take them months to send out the report.
- Stop some direct mail via the Direct Marketing Association's web page. It's free if you print it out and mail it in to them for hand processing, but costs $5 if you just want to do it online. That's how much they like this opt-out list. DO NOT join the DMA's phone or email opt-out list. That's just begging for spam and telemarketing calls.
- Stop almost all credit card and life insurance direct mail solicitations (this won't stop ones from your own bank) by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
- And of course, the ever handy Do Not Call list is here.