Have you recently applied for a mortgage and found yourself bombarded by unsolicited home loan offers from other lenders? If so, the sudden influx of calls, emails, and text messages is likely the result of what is known as “trigger leads.” This article explores the reasons behind this phenomenon and offers insights into protecting your privacy.
What Are Trigger Leads?
When you apply for a mortgage, your lender pulls your credit information from one or more major credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, or Transunion. Unfortunately, many borrowers are unaware that the credit bureaus subsequently sell your information—including your name, contact details, and the date of the mortgage application—as a sales lead to other lenders.
Trigger leads are not exclusive to mortgage applications; they can occur whenever credit is pulled, such as when applying for a car loan, personal loan, or credit card.
Why Do Credit Bureaus Sell Your Information?
Credit bureaus claim that selling trigger leads benefits consumers by providing them with product choices, informing them about exclusive offers, and enhancing their buying power through comparison shopping.
Why Do Other Lenders Buy Trigger Leads?
In the realm of mortgages, trigger leads serve as a strong indicator that an individual or household is actively seeking to purchase or refinance a home. This makes it an opportune time for competing lenders to reach out and potentially secure you as a client.
The Current Landscape
Recent years have seen an increase in trigger lead usage, especially as interest rates fluctuate and the housing market experiences inventory and refinance activity shifts. Unscrupulous lenders might even use aggressive tactics, including deceiving recipients to provide further private information.
Taking Control of Your Privacy
While individual lenders cannot stop credit bureaus from selling information, consumers can take steps to protect their data. Opting out of competitive offers online or by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT can remove you from trigger lead lists. This can be done permanently or for a period of five years, but it must be completed before applying for credit.
Additionally, you can block telemarketers by registering your phone number with the National “Do Not Call Registry” (888-382-1222), operated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This won’t prevent trigger leads from forming, but it can help minimize unwanted calls.
Finally, while there is no “Do Not Call” registry for junk mail, homeowners can limit the junk mail they receive after a mortgage application and home purchase by opting out of mail through the Data and Marketing Association, which charges $4 for a 10-year registration period. Homeowners can use the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry’s free opt-out service, OptOutPrescreen.com, or CatalogChoice.org, which opts users out of over 10,000 catalogs and other junk mail offerings from various companies for free.
By taking proactive steps, such as opting out of competitive offers and registering with the National Do Not Call Registry, borrowers can regain control of their privacy and reduce the barrage of unsolicited offers. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to consult with your WECU Real Estate Loan Officer for guidance on navigating the homeownership journey.