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January 01, 2013 09:50 PM

A Flood Of Offers

Sioux Falls, SD

Like most of us, every day Craig Warrington would go to his mail box and find another pre-screened credit card offer inside.  But unlike most of us, Warrington started keeping those offers instead of throwing them away.

"Morbid curiosity and apparently I have too much free time," Warrington said.

And on the last day of the year Warrington had his total of 69.

"I was actually shocked at how many came from one bank, because I assumed that it would be a lot of different banks.  I always knew I got more from one bank but the sheer number surprised me because I averaged one every two weeks from a specific bank," Warrington said.

Discover Card targeted Warrington over and over again.  Sometimes the interest rate he was offered was 10 percent and sometimes it was as high as 15 percent for the same card. 

"What shocked me about them was I would get two in the same week and they would be the same exact offer," Warrington said.

Warrington says he does worry about the potential for identity theft from these pre-screened applications.

"Each one of these has to be shredded.  Someone could capture one of these out of my mailbox and they could fill it out and next thing you know I have a credit card I'm not aware of," Warrington said.

And then there is concern over what all these inquiries do to his credit score.  These so-called soft inquiries are not supposed to lower it.

"The credit bureaus claim they won't hurt your credit.  But what goes into a credit score is proprietary information and very few people actually know. Although they tell you it won't hurt your credit, who really knows?" Warrington said.

Now that Warrington has finished his year-long experiment, he does plan to shred the offers and stop them for good. According to the Federal Trade Commission consumers can opt out from receiving offers for credit by going online or by phone for a period of five years or permanently.

Meanwhile Warrington has written about his experience and how he tracked all his credit offers on his blog, The Red Pushpin.

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