There has been something that has been very problematic in the mortgage industry in the last few years, and is becoming more so lately. It is what we call trigger leads. A trigger lead is a lead that mortgage companies will purchase from the credit bureaus. When someone applies for a new mortgage the first thing that happens is they get their credit pulled. This is considered the trigger for another mortgage lender to call and try and steal the deal. So as soon as you apply for a mortgage the credit bureaus are selling your data to let other mortgage companies fight over you. This is unnecessary since most people shop for a mortgage before they make a commitment and proceed with a lender and have their credit pulled. A barrage of calls and junk mail by other mortgage companies after you have already applied for a mortgage is a nuisance.
I used to enter a made-up address and phone numbers for my clients when I pulled their credit reports. This way I knew the credit bureaus would be selling bad data and my clients would not be reachable to be cold called and junk mailed. But the credit bureaus caught onto my trickery, and built a rule into their systems where accurate addresses and phone numbers had to be used, which matched what was already in the system. So now I am forced to enter accurate data.
While it’s an illegal breach of privacy for real estate agents or mortgage originators to sell your credit information it is perfectly legal for credit companies to do so. Why? This is a crime! For a price ranging anywhere from $25 to $100, your name and certain specifics about your credit report, including your address, phone number, mortgage history and even your FICO score range, are sold by the credit bureaus to mortgage companies. The result is an onslaught of unsolicited phone calls and junk mail as soon as you apply for a home loan.
Unfortunately, no legislation exists to prevent credit bureaus from profiting at your expense. As a trigger lead, you are simply at the mercy of any number of marketing campaigns from unknown mortgage lenders whose only way to source business is to buy it in a sleazy fashion. Instead of building relationships, working their local marketplace, and continuing their education to be the best mortgage lender they can be, they’d rather sit at their desk and make cold calls based off of these trigger leads. This makes these people no better than telemarketers. Is this someone you want to trust with the largest transaction of your life? Remember, only a limited number of sources exist for lenders to obtain mortgage money, so it’s extremely unlikely that a borrower will find an unbelievably lower rate without an unbelievably high cost somewhere else, like poor service, lack of communication, hidden fees, or more importantly, lack of a loan approval.
That’s why, prior to applying for any loan program, I suggest that you visit OptOut PreScreen to opt-out of future credit bureau solicitations. Not only will you avoid the hassle of telemarketers, but by opting out you could potentially add 10 to 15 points to your credit score! In addition, if you do happen to receive phone calls from solicitors, ask them to place your name and number on their Do Not Call list. All telemarketing companies have their own internal Do Not Call list that they must abide by. Be sure to take down the name of both the company and the individual who made the call, and to let the solicitor know that you’re doing so. This way, you will have grounds to seek action against them, should they call again. I’d also contact my government representative, and complain about the credit bureaus selling your personal information as trigger leads, and demand something be done about it!