Trigger leads; quick, opt out before it's too late

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Shoreline New Hampshire & Maine

AR CEO Matt wrote a blog about "trigger leads" and what an unwarranted invasion of privacy they are. 

For those who may have never heard of a "trigger lead" (like me before now), Matt describes them thusly:

"What is a trigger lead?

After a lender receives a loan app for a potential borrower, the first things they do is to pull a credit report, that includes information from the three major credit bureaus.  This request for a credit report triggers an alert to these credit bureaus that the borrower they are running the check for is in the market for a loan.  These alerts packaged along with the persons private information and anything gathered via the lender pulling the report is packaged up into a "hot lead" to be resold."

I agree with Matt that this practice is distasteful and I would not want to do business with anyone that called me after having gathered my name just because I had applied for a loan or even insurance, at one of his or her competitors.

Fortunately the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that allow this practice described below:

"Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you ("Firm Offers")."

also provide a solution. You are allowed to choose to continue to receive these unsolicited offers or you can choose to opt out permanently or for a period of 5 years. 

"he FCRA also provides you the right to "Opt-Out", which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for Firm Offers.

" Through this website, you may request to:

  • Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers for Five Years - (electronically through this website).

  • Opt-Out from receiving Firm Offers permanently - (mail Permanent Opt-Out Election form available through this website).

  • Opt-In and be eligible to receive Firm Offers. This option is for consumers who have previously completed an Opt-Out request - (electronically through this website)."

I choose the 5 year plan although I may follow through and opt to be permanently opted out of this distasteful practice.


Posted by

Jim Lee , REALTOR®, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)  RE/MAX Shoreline

100 Market St., Suite #200, , Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 431-1111 x3801

Visit New Hampshire Maine Real to search homes, get Seacoast area information, and find out how great living on the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast really is.


Follow RealtorJimLee on Twitter


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Tennessee Knox County Knoxville
fair credit reporting act
opt out of unsolicited offers

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

"Will opting-out, lower your scores?"

Ya got me pal, I hope not because I already opted out for the 5 year plan.

I've got a pretty excellent credit rating and if someone doesn't want to loan me money because of that I see it as their problem, not mine.


May 14, 2007 06:06 AM #16
Damien Bonner
Bridgewater Funding - Kings Park, NY
You dont want an invasion of privacy but you are willing to enter your Social Security # on a non governmnet sanctioned website??? 
May 14, 2007 06:14 AM #17
Pete C
TBA - Kailua, HI
Hawaii Mortgage Loan and Refinance
Thanks Jim.  I've heard of these trigger leads and I think it's pretty shady.  What if a clients chose to do business with me because they knew me or was referred to me, all of the sudden they get solicited by other lenders just because I pulled their credit report.  Terrible.
May 14, 2007 06:27 AM #18
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

Hey Damien, I'm more comfortable entering my social security number on this secure, encrypted site than I am handing my American Express card to some 18 year old waiter who takes it into the back room for 15 minutes. ;-)

Frankly I have more confidence in the integrity of a non-government sanctioned website anyway.

If it's a concern to you then just don't do it.

May 14, 2007 06:49 AM #19
Pete Tsakiris
Countrywide Home Loans a Division of Countrywide Bank, FSB - Saint Charles, IL

One of things i have been messing with is ordering the credit reports for customers WITHOUT their phone #'s. Getting the credit report. Then going back in and adding their phone # in afterwards. So far, seems to be working.
Again, i'm not sure if this actually prevents someone from getting their phone info or not. They can easily 411 it if they want.

May 14, 2007 07:30 AM #20
Willie S. Haddad
Shore Mortgage - Merrillville, IN

I look at a trigger lead in a totally different manner. In my opinion, it gives the borrower an opportunity to shop around with different lenders, without lifting a finger. In this day and age, and the way the mortgage industry is today, I think it's an injustice to the borrower if he or she doesn't get at least 1 second opinion on their financing needs. Unwarranted, maybe, distasteful hardly. So many people are more than cooperative and actually grateful for the phone call and for the opportunity to get a better deal than what they've been offered. For those who are not interested, a simple no thank you will do. But think how many people were actually qualified for a purchase loan because those trigger leads triggered a lender that COULD do their loan. Lets face it, not everyone is a realtor or mortgage professional, so while these advances might be unwarranted to you, to others they are a breath of fresh air and hope!

Forgot to log in....Sorry:)

May 14, 2007 07:42 AM #21
Pete Tsakiris
Countrywide Home Loans a Division of Countrywide Bank, FSB - Saint Charles, IL

A few second opinions are great.
But when I have clients who get upset with me,
because they think we sold their information to others,
and they are getting 30 plus phone calls from "other lenders",
who are telling them "we have all of your information here, and we can get you a lower rate",
is truly a violation of privacy, annoying, and deceiving.

May 14, 2007 08:16 AM #22
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


Very distasteful practice, to say the least. Sadly, it's legal and you have to go opt out to be rid of those potential phone calls.

May 14, 2007 08:28 AM #23
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


This may explain a recent change to a person's credit score? Right?

Has anyone checked on that yet?

As for reading the fine print I am guilty of not doing that. I guess the person I trust with these matters has some serious explaining to do. ROAR!

Odds are good the person knows all about this and has never mentioned it.

Oh. It's not Blog Boy (Broker Bryant) I'm ROARING at :)


May 14, 2007 09:02 AM #24
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
This is great info to take advantage of, and also to pass along to our prospects and clients. They'll remember us as the agent who was looking out for them, even when we had absolutely nothing to gain.
May 14, 2007 09:06 AM #25
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
It is really an invasion of privacy.  With all of the advertising and maketing, if someone wants to find a particular company, the can easily find them.  We don't need our information sold.  Thanks for the opt out information -- that is great!
May 14, 2007 11:06 AM #26
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!
wow, had no clue either.....guess I better pay attention!
May 14, 2007 12:06 PM #27
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
I find the practice shady and distasteful. Wish there was ONE place that we could opt out of everything at once: phone calls, faxes, spam email, snail mail. I'll sure be happy if we evolve to a totally opt-in society rather than an opt-out one.
May 14, 2007 12:51 PM #28
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
That is awful. I agree with you. I would be very unhappy to be called by someone that I did not intiate a conversation with!
May 14, 2007 01:54 PM #29
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
Excellent suggestion, Jim.  I have opted out and have recommended that clients to so also, to prevent interception of credit offers in the mail and potential identity theft.
May 14, 2007 03:54 PM #30
Damien Bonner
Bridgewater Funding - Kings Park, NY

Sorry Jim, I question anything that asks for my social but for future reference you can "opt-out" through equifax's website.  I just felt a little safer that way.  Thank for the info though, it was really helpful. 

May 15, 2007 09:14 AM #31
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
Jim, I can't even begin to tell you how much this issue gets under my skin. It's absolutely unacceptable that this unethical practice is allowed. I appreciate your supplying the information for us as to how to opt-out of this garbage. Thanks for sharing!
May 15, 2007 01:53 PM #32
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Hi there,

Going to bookmark the link for reference for anyone who might benefit from this service!

Great link to share with clients!


Tom Davis


Jan 30, 2009 02:54 PM #33
Vanna Siackhasone
Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663 - Anchorage, AK
Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663

Wow. Thanks for the info.

Jun 07, 2009 05:19 PM #34
Jason Romrell
Business Attorney and Success Advisor - Los Angeles, CA

Great info.  Thanks for sharing.

Jun 12, 2009 05:59 AM #35
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jim Lee

Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH
How can I help?
Spam prevention

Additional Information