Jul 11 2023

Protect yourself from unwanted spam calls

trigger lead
trigger lead

Are you in the process of buying a house? To avoid becoming a trigger lead, simply opt out.

When you apply for a mortgage, your Loan Officer will run a hard pull on your credit. This sends your information to the credit bureau your report was pulled from—either TransUnion, Experian, Innovis, or Equifax. Once this happens, the credit bureau then (legally) sells your information to other lenders. You become what’s called a trigger lead, subject to unsolicited calls, letters, and emails, until you opt out.

Yes, trigger leads are perfectly legal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). While Academy Mortgage will never sell your information, credit bureaus can by law.

Trigger leads are supported by the CFPB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Their purpose is to help borrowers compare prices and promote healthy competition. A lender might buy a trigger lead because it indicates a borrower is interested in buying or refinancing a house. Trigger leads may also be purchased by credit card, insurance, personal loan, and car loan providers.

Trigger leads can be legitimate, but they’re also rife with misuse. Many buyers don’t appreciate receiving unwanted calls and emails when purchasing a car or a house. If your information is sold as a mortgage trigger lead, competing lenders may have access to your credit score, loan type, and even loan amount.

Don’t become a trigger lead: Here’s how to opt out

It’s possible that trigger leads may be banned in the near future. Until then, you can prevent credit offers after a credit inquiry is made by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com or calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.

An opt out takes roughly five days to go into effect.

Opting out helps reduce the amount of spam and harassment you receive for approximately five years. You also have the option to permanently take yourself off the list. A permanent opt-out request must be sent in writing by mailing a form downloaded from the site. If you change your mind, you can use the site to opt back in again later.

Questions? Reach out to your local Academy Loan Officer.

When you opt out of becoming a trigger lead:

  • You’ll be excluded from the firm offer lists sold by the four Consumer Credit Reporting Companies (TransUnion, Experian, Innovis, and Equifax).
  • You won’t receive as many unwanted credit offers by letter, phone, or email.
  • You’ll have the assurance that your credit file is only reviewed by those you’ve granted permission to—i.e., your mortgage lender.
  • Your credit score won’t be negatively impacted. Neither will your ability to apply for credit and insurance.

Keep in mind that opting out isn’t a 100-percent guarantee. Though an opt-out request will remove you from firm offer lists within five days, you may still get offers from companies that have already received your information. You might also get offers from companies that don’t rely on Consumer Credit Reporting data to create their trigger lead lists.

To take it a step further, you can opt out of Direct Mail Association (DMA) lists, reducing the amount of junk mail you receive. Here’s where to find your opt-out options. Before applying for a mortgage, you can also register your phone number at www.DoNotCall.gov.

Opting out of trigger lead lists won’t limit soliciting from religious groups, alumni associations, politicians, charities, and local vendors. If you want to opt out of calls and mailers from these groups, you’ll need to contact them directly.

Although trigger leads can feel intrusive, there are some borrowers who choose not to opt out. A borrower might allow credit offer calls and emails if they want to receive competing offers and compare loan costs. And since these offers are pre-screened, a borrower is unlikely to be denied. That said, it’s still important to exercise caution and ensure an offer is coming from a reputable lender.

As noted above, trigger leads are being lobbied against by multiple mortgage industry groups. Many lenders and lawmakers oppose trigger lead lists because they have potential to increase instances of mortgage fraud and identity theft. While arguments have been made that credit offers help the consumer shop around, those in opposition say they may promote predatory lending.

Bottom line: Becoming a trigger lead might not be on your radar when you’re thinking about buying a house. Since an opt-out request takes about five days to process, it’s ideal to opt out a week or more before you apply for your mortgage. Even if you already own a home, you can opt out now to avoid becoming a trigger lead the next time your credit is pulled.

We’re here to make your life easier

Whether it’s explaining how to opt out of unnecessary spam calls or working quickly and efficiently to ensure your loan closes on time: We’re always here to lend a hand. If you’re ready to buy a house, your local Academy Loan Officer can help you get started.

Please consult a trusted professional as personal circumstances may vary. No specific results are guaranteed. Not all applicants will qualify. MAC524-1486649.