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How To Protect Your Personal Information When Applying For A Mortgage Loan

Jan 27, 2008
A few days after you apply for a mortgage loan your phone starts ringing off the hook with calls from other lenders trying to offer you a better deal. You ask yourself, How did they get my number; I didn't do business with them? When your credit report is pulled by a lender or broker, the request for your credit report triggers an alert, which informs the 3 major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, that you are a potential lead looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing loan. This process is called a "trigger lead."

The credit bureaus sell these trigger leads to lenders and brokers who have subscribed to the service and provide them with a list of potential candidates who are looking for a loan and meet criteria such as consumers who have a certain credit score or have never filed for bankruptcy. Contact information such as applicant name, address and telephone number and the number of credit cards a consumer possesses is provided.

Many mortgage industry experts believe trigger leads are helpful. When a lender already has some basic information about you they can develop a plan to their advantage, and although the deal may sound good it may not be the best deal for you. However, you can get a better deal if they shopped around for various offers because you can ask specific questions related to the type of loan you are seeking.

You may feel trigger leads are a violation of privacy. You can request that your contact information be removed from their call list and third party call lists. The company may respond by saying that it will be removed at a later date, so be persistent and request that your information be removed immediately.

When your credit report is pulled you can request that the lender or broker not enter your telephone number, which may reduce telemarketer calls. However, they are phone matching programs available that can be used before the trigger leads are sold. As long as they have your SSN, they can match up your name, address and phone number. To prevent this from occurring, list your contact information as unpublished with your local telephone company.

When applying for a mortgage loan, or filling out any application that requests your personal information, ask the following questions:

1. What procedures are in place to protect customer information if the company goes bankrupt or merges with another company?

2. Has the company experienced any security threats or attacks and if so how were they handled?

3. How can I obtain my personal records when I end my business relationship with the company?

4. How can I get a copy of the privacy policy?

To reduce telemarketer calls, register your telephone number with the Federal Trade Commission's National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222 and register your address with the Direct Marketing Association at 1-888-567-8688. To file a complaint against a company, contact the Better Business Bureau or your state Attorney General's Office. Protect your personal information as you would your life - handle with care.
About the Author
Harrine Freeman is the CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit repair and personal finance services company and author of "How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free." Visit H.E. Freeman Enterprises.
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