HOW TO OPT OUT OF TRIGGER LEADS AND CREDIT OFFERS
After a long day at work, you are ready to relax and enjoy dinner. Then, just as you sit down to eat, the telephone rings. A stranger is "cold-calling" to try and sell you something.
This scenario is likely familiar to you, since people throughout the United States receive calls from telemarketers. And if you recently completed an application for a home mortgage or home refinance loan, the chances of getting calls may increase. These calls are referred to as trigger leads.
Ameris Bank does not initiate these calls, nor do we sell your information. Keep reading to learn why you might be the recipient of unwanted calls, how to stop them and how to protect your personal information.
WHAT IS A TRIGGER LEAD?
A trigger lead is created when someone completes and submits a home mortgage or refinance loan application. The applicant gives their bank or lender permission to pull their credit report, which is part of the application review process. When the bank or lender pulls the applicant's credit, the action is referred to as a "hard inquiry" with Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax®.
These "big three" national credit bureaus are made aware that the applicant submitted a home mortgage or refinance loan application, and they can sell the applicant's information to third parties in the lending industry. Calls may be a result of what's referred to as a trigger lead, the applicant becomes a trigger mortgage lead and is subject to phone calls and emails from various lenders, loan officers, and loan brokers.
So, if you apply for a home mortgage or refinance loan, you may receive calls as a result of a trigger lead and be contacted by mortgage industry representatives who want your business, even if you only applied for a loan from one bank or lender.
YES, TRIGGER LEADS ARE LEGAL
Many people wonder if creating trigger leads and soliciting mortgage loan applicants is legal, and the answer is yes. It is not against the law for Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax® to sell your information to other lenders, loan officers and loan brokers. These credit bureaus follow all regulations and guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which helps to protect the public from deceptive or unfair business practices, has long supported the practice of selling trigger leads.
The information sold might vary based on the credit bureau, but it typically includes your name, address, and loan inquiry type (home mortgage or refinance).
HOW TO OPT-OUT
If the thought of receiving unsolicited phone calls and emails sounds overwhelming and bothersome, or if you are currently inundated with calls and emails, there are steps you can take to avoid unwanted interruptions.
- Register your phone number. Contact the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or by calling (888) 382-1222 to register your phone number with a preference not to receive telemarketing calls. This service is free.
- Opt-out from pre-screened offers. Sign up at www.OptOutPrescreen.com or call (888) 5-OPT-OUT to opt out from receiving pre-approved or pre-screened finance or credit offers. This is the official website for the consumer credit reporting industry. This service is also free.
- Block unwanted calls. Use the call-blocking features on your cell phone to prevent certain callers from contacting you in the future. By blocking unwanted calls, you can avoid interruptions in your daily routine.
- Consider a paid service. DMAChoice offers a signature program designed to block specific marketing messages from being delivered to your email, mailbox and phone. DMAChoice charges a nominal fee for a 10-year registration.
WHAT ABOUT CREDIT CARD OFFERS I FIND IN MY MAILBOX?
In addition to receiving phone and email solicitations, you may find pre-approved or pre-qualified credit card offers in your mailbox.
If these credit card offers are bothersome, you can opt out of receiving them by signing up at www.OptOutPrescreen.com or calling (888) 5-OPT-OUT. You can also write a letter to Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax® and state that you no longer want your personal information sold or shared for direct mailing lists.
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Don’t make the mistake of discarding credit card offers without shredding them. Criminals steal mail and search trash cans to find documents containing valuable personal information. This information is then used to open new accounts in their names, leading to financial loss and damage to your credit score.
Ameris Bank maintains an online Privacy and Cybersecurity Center that you can access anytime for the latest tips on protecting your personal information and preventing fraud. Make it a point to check this site as often as possible.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.