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10 Opt-Outs to Increase Your Privacy

Jackie here. Are you looking for ways to increase your privacy? The World Privacy Forum has compiled a list of their Top 10 Opt-Outs. While the list is in no way comprehensive it contains those opt-outs that the group feels are most important and most useful. Increase your personal privacy today by choosing one (or more) of the opt-outs that appeal to you. Which opt-outs will you choose?

Check out the complete list of the World Privacy Forum’s Top 10 Opt-outs here. You’ll also find helpful tips and additional information for completing each one.

Do Not Call Registry

If you’re tired of receiving marketing calls on your home phone or cell phone the Do Not Call Registry is for you. You can register your personal phone numbers, but not business numbers. This opt-out is an easy one. Just call 888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register or visit

Opt-out of Pre-Screened Credit Offers

If you visit you can stop receiving prescreened credit card offers. This opt-out can be a valuable tool in fighting ID theft as thieves occasionally use these prescreened offers to establish credit accounts. We’ve shared this resource with you in the past, but if you haven’t signed up yet, do it today.

Direct Marketing Opt-outs

Are you getting too much junk mail? An opt-out with the Direct Marketing Association (also called the DMA) can drastically reduce the amount of marketing mail and catalogs you receive. You can also use this opt-out to remove the names of deceased people from mailing lists. Visit the DMA website for more information.

Financial Institution Opt-outs

If you don’t specifically opt-out, your financial institution can share some information about you, including information about the stores where you shop and account balances, with outside parties. The opt-out process varies from bank to bank, but you can find the details in their privacy policy. Some financial institutions do not share personal customer information and do not offer an opt-out.

CAN-SPAM Opt-out

You’ve probably seen opt-out and unsubscribe links at the bottom of some commercial emails. Legitimate opt-outs can reduce the amount of marketing email you receive from companies, although the amount of spam you receive is likely to remain the same.

Credit Freeze

If you’re at a heightened risk for ID theft, you might want to lock down your credit with a credit freeze. This stops credit bureaus from sharing your credit information and typically stops new credit accounts from being opened in your name. It’s a powerful tool for fighting ID theft, but since it does effectively “freeze” your credit, you might not want to sign up if you plan on getting loans in the near future. A freeze doesn’t stop your current credit cards from working. You can “thaw” your credit temporarily if you need to open a new credit account using a special PIN. Here’s a helpful resource about credit freezes from the FTC.

FERPA Opt-outs

Stop your educational data from being shared using a FERPA opt-out. This is available to students (K-12 and college) and parents of students under 18. Policies vary from school to school, ask at your school or do a search online to find out policies.

Data Broker Opt-outs

We talk a lot about Big Data here on the AllClear ID blog. Many of the data brokers offer opt-outs of some sort, but as the World Privacy Forum mentions, “…data broker opt-outs are generally quite limited, and it is nearly impossible to tell just what effect an opt-out will actually have. When you read the opt-out offerings carefully, you will see that they are often qualified.” They share a list of many companies to opt-out with if you’re interested.

Social Media Opt-outs

Did you know that your favorite internet and social media companies may offer opt-outs? The choices offered vary by company. One of the best ways to find opt-outs is to carefully read those privacy policies. If you read the Top 10 List from the World Privacy Forum, you’ll find other tips (and links to some popular opt-outs) too.

Online Advertising Opt-outs

Marketers often use your internet browsing patterns to create targeted advertising. These opt-outs are often tied to your internet cookies and must be restored each time you delete them. Get started with your online advertising opt-outs with RapLeaf and Network Advertising Initiative (NAI).

Each of these opt-outs carries various privacy benefits. Learn more about each of your options and choose the opt-outs that will most benefit you.


  1. Thanks for the Do Not Call Registry link. I used it to confirm that my cell phone was registered.

    The Opt-out of Pre-Screened Credit Offers link was very good. As a result I was able to register with all four credit bureaus at one time.

    The Direct Marketing Op-outs link was also very good. That will help reduce a lot of my unwanted junk mail.

    I have not had any indication of financial institutions sharing my information at this time. Must be the privacy policies are very tight with the institutions with whom I do business.

    The CAN-SPAM Opt-out process can have a flaw. Some spammers use the opt-out process to confirm that they have a good email address on their list.

    The Credit Freeze process is only for those people with very high credit scores. Unfortunately not all fall into that category.

    The FERPA Opt-outs have never been a concern since I graduated.

    As for Data Broker Opt-outs, there has been no indication in this area that I would need to go to the opt out listing.

    As for Social Media Opt-out there is no need since I don’t use them.

    As for Online Advertising Op-outs the web browser is set to Do Not Track and there are ad blockers installed. As for the cookies I’m still trying to work out which ones are related to add stopping/blocking for specific sites.

    Overall I would say this is a very good article when it comes to privacy related issues. Thanks for your time and effort in this area.


  2. Opting out of direct marketing calls using no longer works. Scammer’s are ignoring the registry and the government is failing to police it. Calls to elected representatives about the issue yield nothing. Even using options like call blocking don’t work since scammer’s spoof numbers and constantly change them.

  3. This should be a list of 9, not 10, opt-outs. For years I’ve listed my home and business telephone numbers with the FTC and state attorney general’s Do Not Call Registry. Result: unwanted and unrelenting marketing calls to both numbers. And for years I filed complaints with the FTC and state attorney general’s office which never resulted in any governmt agency saying ‘We got the bad guys and they won’t call you again!’ The DNC Registry was enacted with good intentions but my experience, and those of many other consumers I’ve read about on line, is that it’s broken.

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