When you apply for a mortgage with us (or anyone else), and we pull your credit – you might get a call from Quicken Loans. We did not sell your information – it was picked up as a Trigger Lead. We want to make sure everyone is aware of what Trigger Leads are and how to combat them. Many people think that their Credit Score Information has been sold, that’s not the case.
What is a Trigger Lead?
When a hard inquiry hits a customer’s credit file, a lead is generated based on the type of company placing the inquiry. Other companies can then purchase those leads and solicit those customers. For example, when Equity Resources places a hard inquiry on a customer’s credit file, Equifax, Transunion and/or Experian will sell that customer’s information to other mortgage lenders, who will in turn call and solicit that customer. Crazy right?
Can’t I just put a fake phone number in to prevent this?
In fact, the credit bureaus don’t get the phone numbers from our systems. Credit Plus (and other credit vendors) do not transmit this data to Equifax, Transunion or Experian. Putting a fake number in will only cause fraud alerts on your loan file, and will not prevent other creditors from calling your customers.
In our office, we’ve started leaving the telephone number off the inquiry all together. If you are applying for a mortgage with us online – please include your telephone number (we’ll take care of it)… Or call us at 919 649 5058, or send an email to steveATstevethorneonlineDOTcom and let us know your telephone number so that we can follow back up with you!
What can we do to stop this?
We can’t stop Experian, for instance, from selling the information that you are applying for a mortgage. That’s really what’s been sold. You applied for a mortgage, and you have credit scores that are within a range of “X”. They don’t know anything else about your situation. You can also register with the Do Not Call list, to prevent these types of calls in the future.
How would someone put themselves on the National Do Not Call list?
You can add your phone number for free by going to donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. If you register online you will get a confirmation email. You must click on the link in the email within 72 hours to complete the registration. The Federal Trade Commission says that your number will appear on the registry the next day but it may take 31 days for the sales calls to stop.
PLEASE BE AWARE THIS WILL NOT STOP ALL SALES CALLS. The Do Not Call registry has a clause that allows for a business you maintain a relationship with to still call you, even if you are listed on the Do Not Call list. If a customer has a bank account with Chase they maintain a current relationship with Chase, therefore Chase would still be permitted to call and solicit your customer even if the customer is listed on the Do Not Call list.
Here is a link to some FAQs for the Do Not Call list.
Are these additional Inquiries on the Credit Report?
No, this is not creating an additional inquiry on your credit report. The only folks who can see your credit file are the ones you give permission to. So, if you give us permission to pull your credit report, we are going to do that… but if someone calls you and says, “Hey! I heard you are looking for information for a mortgage,” they won’t know your circumstances. I have been told that there is a difference in the Trigger Lead sold to companies that are purchase leads, as opposed to refinance – but I can’t confirm that.
I do know that Veterans are getting calls sometimes within 5 minutes of us pulling their credit. That’s making everyone uncomfortable, and it “feels” like we sold Credit Score information, when in fact we didn’t. We can not attain your credit information without the notice going to all of the repositories (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).
Credit is being pulled again right before closing?
Yes, right before closing we pull credit again, and you might get the same calls further into the Mortgage Process? If you begin the mortgage process in May and we pull your credit report… and then you purchase a home in June… and then you close in July. Your credit report is good for 90 days. So theoretically, no problem.
But with the new requirement to pull a new credit report right before closing – even if it’s just your mortgage company and you haven’t purchased a sofa, or refrigerator – THAT inquiry could lower your score.
Three things you can do to improve your credit.
- Late Payments Showing on Report: If your report shows one or two late payments over a LONG period of time (probably more than 8 months ago). Call the Customer Service Line and ask very nicely for it to be removed. If the Customer Service Rep does not have the authority to remove the items (which they normally do not), ask for a supervisor. Be nice, beg, beg, and beg some more! It really is important to have any documentation available to show the company that it was a simple mistake (like put the wrong payment in the wrong envelope when paying bills one month – I’ve done that before but you need the evidence of the check returned and the letter from the other company). This sounds a little crazy, but going head on really is the simplest way to get late payments off. Sometimes it works! If you feel that the lates are in error you can begin the dispute process.
- High Balances On Credit Cards: Look on your report for the balance between your Credit Limit and your Current Balance. If you have high balances on some cards but low ones on others, spread the balances around. If you a shopping for a home – and need to elevate your scores – REMEMBER that most credit cards companies only report to the bureaus once per month. This means that if you move balances around on the 15th of the month – it could take more than 45 days for the difference to reflect in your scores.
- Closing Credit Card Accounts: The “old wives tale” is that people should close old accounts, especially if you have a zero balance and no longer use the account. If you are an Impulsive Shopper – I can see the reasoning in this train of thought. However, you never want to lose years of a good payment history by closing a card you are no longer using. “In fact, if you haven’t used them for a couple of years, they may have gone “stale” in the scoring model. I say charge a tank of gas and pay it off when the bill comes to re-age them into the most recent scoring models.”
If you have questions about pre-qualifying for a mortgage loan in North Carolina- please call us! Steve and Eleanor Thorne 919 649 5058. We know how to get borrowers in NC approved, we know what credit score the Underwriters will take. We’ll call you back, and if you need to add another credit card, or pay something off – we’ll work with you. We want to help you get into that NC Dream House!