The first step in obtaining a mortgage is always going through the application process. You’ve found the broker you want to use and fill out all the paperwork. Then you go home to find half a dozen voice mails and emails from different brokers claiming they can offer you a better deal. You haven’t applied with any of them but they all seem to have all your personal information. When you’ve only filled out paperwork with one broker, how do so many more suddenly seem to know you are looking for a mortgage loan?
When you apply for a mortgage, your broker will pull your credit report. This triggers an inquiry with the three credit bureaus, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. The credit bureaus then turn around and sell your information to other brokers who have signed up for “trigger leads”. And it is unfortunately not against the law for them to do this.
There are dozens of companies that offer trigger leads. A broker simply gives them the filters they are looking for and as soon as a mortgage is applied for and credit is pulled, any information that fits those parameters becomes a trigger lead. The filters they can use vary greatly. Most lead companies start by filtering with credit score and zip code. Most brokers are looking for credit scores in a certain range. But other criteria can be added, such as no late payments, loan to value, loan amount, etc. When a broker runs a credit report, they are pulling credit through a third party vendor as required. If a borrower is receiving phone calls or emails from other brokers once their credit is pulled , it’s not the third party credit reporting agency that’s selling their information; it’s the actual credit bureaus.
There are ways to try to prevent this from happening:
Optoutprescreen.com. By registering here it will stop the bureaus from selling your personal information so you will not appear on any trigger list for 5 years. The trick is this needs to be done at least 5 days before the application process and the credit is pulled.
Do Not Call Registry is also a good option. By registering your phone and cell phone numbers here it will also stop your phone numbers from appearing on trigger lists. It is best to do this a month before you are going to fill out a loan application as it can take 31 days to take affect.
When applying for a mortgage it is also a good idea to ask the mortgage broker to not include your phone or email on the loan application or enter it in when credit is pulled. Once the credit report is pulled they can always go back in and add that information. While this will not completely keep your information from becoming a trigger lead, it will make it less desirable to some brokers as they will have to “scrub” more to come up with this information on their own.
There have been some steps taken to attempt to ban trigger leads but so far none of those have come to fruition. There is not a way to 100% guarantee your information will end up as a Trigger Lead. There are just too many variables the bureaus use to provide these leads. But by taking the steps described above it can at least limit your chances from becoming one.