I recently found out about this and opted out for life. Read below.
Each time ones credit is checked, the “inquiry data” that the credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Innovis, and Experian) have on file becomes a commodity. This information is being sold by the credit bureaus to others.
The credit bureaus have found a way to increase their revenues without the permission of the individual whose credit was check. These “inquiry leads” include name, address, phone numbers (including unlisted), credit score, current debt and debt history, property information, age, gender and estimated income.
The consumer credit reporting industry has provided a way to “opt out” and remove your name from these lists. Contact them by phone at 1-888-567-8688 or online at http://www.optoutprescreen.com/. One must opt out at least 48 hours prior to having a credit check to make sure it is processed on time. Five year or lifetime options are available. The lifetime option requires a signed form.
Also, opting out will protect one from “pre-approved credit offers” arriving via mail, which is one of the leading causes of identity theft in the US.