Shopping for a mortgage and getting pre-approved by a lender is a standard process for relocating employees who wish to purchase a home in the U.S. Many of these employees, however, will notice that after they apply for a mortgage, they suddenly receive phone calls, emails, and mail from multiple lenders with unsolicited offers for mortgage services. It is important to know that the employee’s information was NOT sold by the lender. What has happened, however, is the credit bureaus have sold a “trigger lead.”
What Are Trigger Leads?
Trigger leads are a product offered by all three reporting agencies - Equifax, Experion, and TransUnion. When the employee completes a loan application, the lender pulls their credit. Whenever credit is pulled, the action triggers an inquiry. This inquiry is then sold to other lenders as “leads,” which are notices to other mortgage lenders that a consumer is seeking a mortgage loan. These leads contain names, contact information, and other data of consumers who apply for a mortgage.
Mortgage trigger leads are legal under the Fair Credit Report Act. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) stance is that they are beneficial for consumers because they allow the consumer to obtain multiple offers to make sure they are receiving the best deal on a mortgage. They can, however, cause the employee to feel like they are being spammed and bombarded with unsolicited telemarketing calls. Trigger leads can also open the door to identity theft, fraud, and predatory lending. And many times, the lenders try to confuse the consumer by making it look like they are affiliated with their current lender.
What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Relocating Employees?
Employers should partner with a trusted lender as part of their relocation policy. By working with a preferred lender, employers can feel confident that their employees are working with a reputable mortgage lender who does not share or sell their information. Although a lender cannot prevent the credit bureaus from sharing leads, they can advise the relocating employee of the practice and provide guidance on how to navigate various offers.
What Can Employees Do to Prevent This?
For employees who are not interested in these offers, it’s best to just ignore them. There are a few options that can help reduce future unsolicited offers:
- Register for Do Not Call: The National Do Not Call Registry is free and can help limit telemarketing calls. Visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you wish to register. A number stays on the registry for five years, until it is disconnected, or until you take it off the registry. In can take up to 31 days for calls to stop.
- Opt out of prescreened offers: To opt out of prescreened offers, the employee can call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. When the employee calls or visits the website, they will be asked to provide personal information, including phone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. The information provided is confidential and will be used only to process the request to opt out. The request to opt out will be processed within five days, but it may take up to 60 days to stop receiving these offers.
It’s important to note that opting out of prescreened offers does not affect the employee’s ability to apply for or obtain credit. If, or when, they want to opt back in, they can use the same telephone number or website.
While taking these steps will limit the unsolicited marketing employees receive, many companies use other tools to identify marketing prospects. Even if the employee opts out of prescreened offers and puts their number on the National Do Not Call Registry, they should still expect some unsolicited offers.
If you would like to learn more, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has resources that can help:
- More information on prescreened offers? Read here
- Want to learn more about your credit report and when creditors can access it? Read here
- How can I stop receiving junk mail? Read here
Whatever the financing needs of your transferees may be, SIRVA Mortgage is here to help. With over 30 years of focus and expertise in relocation mortgage lending, we understand the important role home financing plays in the relocation process. Please visit our mortgage website to learn more or contact us at MortgageClientServices@sirva.com.