Pre-Approved Credit Cards

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I try pretty hard to protect my kids from harm.  Sometimes it involves helmets, lifejackets, kneepads.

Today I had to protect my child against credit card fraud.  She is 12 years old.

My daughter has been receiving a magazine through a gift subscription for several years, and she’s always enjoyed the magazine itself. It’s a trusted name, or at least I thought so.

She received a pre-approved credit card offer today.  Normally I would have just thought that it was a random mailing, just a junk mailing list that somehow had my daughter’s name on it.

But this one in particular did not have my daughter’s correct name.  It had the exact name that she had used for the magazine subscription.  This started me thinking.  It was also mailed to the mailing address of the person who had purchased the magazine offer for her, not her home address.

So not at all random. 

I looked into the magazine’s privacy policy online.  I thought -– this can’t be right, not this magazine.  Not a child’s magazine.  My mistake.

Their privacy policy states: From time-to-time our magazines or websites may make their list of customers available to other carefully screened organizations that want to let you know about a product or service that might interest you.  The material to be sent to you or your gift recipient is reviewed by us before the names and addresses are released to ensure the company is reputable and their materials are appropriate. 

Through their qualifications, my 12-year-old child is considered an appropriate recipient for a preapproved credit card.

So I called the financial institution offering the credit card. Me being me, I asked if the call was being recorded for “quality of service” and mentioned I was recording it as well.  The customer service rep on the line stumbled a bit at that, and then when I described my complaint –- he transferred me to the “correct” department, which then transferred me to the “credit” department, which then transferred me to the “credit manager”.  After all that, I was still on the line, when others might have given up. 

They were helpful, but useless. They were accommodating, but ignorant of their own policies regarding mailing lists. Sad but true. So my name and phone number were taken down and my complaint was put on the record, with the intent that someone will “follow up.”

Next I turned my attention to the magazine itself.  After repeated attempts to call, only to find that the Customer Service representative is not available at this time, I found an email address for their privacy manager.

This won’t stop there, and I know it. I’m not naïve enough to think that by complaining and reporting issues, they will never happen again, but I do know that if I turn my back and ignore it it may get worse.

And even worse, it may land in the wrong hands. I know that if I don’t monitor this situation, it could potentially cause all sorts of problems for my child in her future.

And parents, please recognize that as soon as you place your child's name and address in the hands of any company, you are placing them into a list. I will be doubly careful in the future about where our names end up, and I will be making sure it is not their full legal name on anything unless it is necessary.

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