If you recently submitted to have your credit checked for a mortgage loan, you might have noticed you received a call or two from a “mortgage professional” looking to help you. We’re here to let you know that it’s no coincidence. You were contacted because of something called a “Trigger Lead”.

Trigger leads are sales leads generated from the information inquiry produced when a mortgage company runs a borrower’s credit report for a mortgage application. The credit bureau such as Experian, Transunion and Equifax then sells the applicant’s name and contact information to third party vendors, including competing mortgage companies. This can turn an exciting transaction into an irritating onslaught of unwanted solicitation and often unethical promises of better rates.

The mortgage companies that purchase these leads will likely misrepresent themselves by making it seem they have an existing relationship or access to the existing mortgage account, which usually is false. What’s more, the companies that purchase these leads tend to be the most aggressive in terms of sales tactics and that often goes hand in hand with unethical practices.

Unfortunately, this practice is legal and commonplace today. Bottom Line: The companies that purchase these trigger are usually the companies you DO NOT WANT to be doing business with.

When choosing the mortgage professional or company to work with, we always advise to go on a trusted referral from a friend or family member and/or to search for and read the online reviews of local providers.

There are a few ways borrowers can protect themselves from trigger lead harassment:

  • Register with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register both your home and cell phone numbers. It takes 31 days to become effective, so try to do this at least one month before applying for a loan. The registration expires after five years.
  • Register with the Direct Mail Association to prevent mortgage lenders from sending direct mail. It will cost $1.00 whether you register online or through mail. The DMA distributes its lists every quarter so registration can take a while to be effective and it is good for five years.
  • OptOutPrescreen will also stop the four credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion) from selling your information as a trigger lead. Signing up will stop trigger leads for five years, although the Fair Credit Reporting Act still allows for the sale of your name.

Borrowers should also talk to their mortgage broker about how to avoid their information being sold for trigger lead lists. Some lenders have documents that disallow personal information from being sold. Education is paramount in order to avoid the unlimited sale of your personal information and to preserve the trust between a borrower and their lender.

Transparent Mortgage – Empowering homeowners for today’s home buying environment. Contact us to learn more on how we can help you move forward with confidence.

Beau Hodson

Beau Hodson

About the Author Since 2003, Beau has been a mortgage professional and is a leading mortgage broker and lender in San Diego. As Founder and Senior Mortgage Advisor at Transparent Mortgage, he is truly committed to serving the needs of his clients and raising industry standards for integrity and transparency.