Mortgage borrowers are often barraged with offers from questionable lenders and insurance providers. These so-called “trigger leads” can be annoying, but they’re legal. Here’s how to stop them.
What you need to know about trigger leads
If you’ve recently applied for a mortgage loan, you may have experienced dozens (if not more) unsolicited phone calls from mortgage lenders with offers of credit. Many of our clients have complained to us about these aggressive calls by companies that often seem disreputable. We recently had a client experience more than 30 phone calls — including calls to her work place.
What is a trigger lead?
In the home mortgage industry, a “trigger lead” refers to a type of sales lead that is generated when a consumer’s credit report indicates that they may be in the market for a mortgage or have recently applied for one. These leads are “triggered” by specific events — Such as a credit inquiry or application for a mortgage loan.
For example, when a person applies for a mortgage, the credit bureaus collect this information and then sell it to subscribing lenders who are looking for customers with certain specifications — like loan types, zip codes, or FICO scores. The lenders then use these leads to proactively reach out to potential borrowers.
Is this legal?
Yes. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the major credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion) are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you.
What you can do about it
So what can a knowledgeable consumer do to prevent credit bureaus from including their information on these trigger lead lists?
Fortunately, the FCRA provides you the right to opt-out, which prevents the credit reporting companies from selling your credit file information. You can opt-out before you apply for a mortgage or any other type of loan.
To opt out for five years:
Go to OptOutPrescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). The major credit bureaus operate the phone number and website.
To opt out permanently:
Go to OptOutPrescreen.com or call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) to start the process. To complete your request, you’ll need to sign and return the Permanent Opt-Out Election form (which you get online) once you’ve started the process.
You’ll want to op-out at least one week (preferably longer) prior to having your credit pulled in conjunction with a mortgage loan application.
Keep in mind that you may already be on a few lists, so opting out won’t prevent ALL unsolicited offers. But it will reduce them considerably and should help prevent those annoying “trigger lead” phone calls that can be such a nuisance.
Questions? You can ask us anything.