Understanding Trigger Leads: A Comprehensive Guide to Prevention

Trigger leads are generated when a potential borrower's credit report is accessed due to their recent inquiry into mortgage-related services. These leads can be intrusive and raise privacy concerns for consumers.
While this is legal, we find trigger leads to be unethical and want to provide insights into how borrowers can take control to prevent or stop them.

What Are Trigger Leads?

When a borrower applies for a mortgage or seeks pre-approval, their credit report is pulled by the lender. This credit inquiry information is then sold by the credit bureaus to other lenders as trigger leads. Consequently, the borrower becomes a potential target for competing lenders.

Implications for Borrowers

Trigger leads serve as a lucrative business strategy for BIG lenders, and they have adverse effects on borrowers. Potential borrowers receive unsolicited offers and communications from multiple lenders. This can lead to an inundation of emails, phone calls, and mail, creating a sense of intrusion and discomfort for the consumer.
Additionally, the increased volume of inquiries can impact the borrower's credit score, as multiple credit inquiries within a short period may be perceived negatively by credit reporting agencies.

Preventing or Stopping Trigger Leads

Fortunately, borrowers have options to prevent or stop trigger leads and regain control over their personal information. Here are some effective strategies:
1. Opt-Out of Pre-Screened Offers: Borrowers can opt-out of pre-screened credit offers through optoutprescreen.com, the official website of the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This prevents their credit information from being included in lists sold to lenders for trigger leads.
2. Freeze Your Credit: A credit freeze adds an extra layer of security by restricting access to a borrower's credit report. This prevents lenders from pulling the credit report without the borrower's explicit permission. While this may require additional steps when applying for new credit, it effectively stops trigger leads.
Contact each of the three credit bureaus to freeze your credit. 

3. Utilize the National Do Not Call Registry: Borrowers can register their phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry to minimize unsolicited calls. This step won't stop all calls but can significantly reduce the number of marketing calls.
4. Monitor Your Credit Report: Regularly monitoring your credit report allows you to identify any unauthorized credit inquiries promptly. You can take immediate action to address the situation and prevent further unauthorized access if you notice unfamiliar inquiries.

Understanding trigger leads is crucial to protect borrowers' privacy and maintain control over their personal information. By opting out of pre-screened offers, freezing credit, utilizing the National Do Not Call Registry, and monitoring credit reports, borrowers can take proactive measures to prevent or stop trigger leads.
Empowering consumers with knowledge and tools to safeguard their financial information ensures a more transparent and respectful lending environment for all parties involved.
1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - "Credit Freezes and Your Credit Report"
2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) - "Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers" 
3. Experian - "What Are Trigger Leads?"