Guide to credit card offers: The meaning of 'pre-approved' – and other mysteries

Credit-card companies often say you are "pre-approved," "pre-screened," "pre-qualified," or "pre-selected" to receive their credit card. Here is a guide to sorting through credit-card offers:

3. What about identity theft?

Pat Sullivan/AP/File
In this October 2012, file photo, Houston school teacher Candida Gutierrez talks in Houston about the frustration of having her identity stolen several years ago. Identity thieves search through trash for credit-card offers, so make sure to shred those offers before you throw them away.

Most victims of identity theft do not know how identity thieves got their information, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Two of the most common sources of personal information for thieves are a victim’s trash and mailbox. Because of this, any mail that you receive that has personal information on it should be shredded – not simply thrown away. This is especially important with credit-card offers. Identity thieves can easily complete the application and get the card under your name.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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