Buying a home is a joyous time in a person’s life. For many, it’s one the biggest goals they may have. One unexpected side-effect that occurs during the home buying process is pushy telemarketers who start reaching out after you apply for a loan. This is due to trigger leads.

Trigger leads are a marketing tool sold by the three major credit bureaus to mortgage lenders, insurance companies, and credit card providers. Once a hard inquiry happens on your credit score, the credit bureaus share that data with lenders so they can try and provide a competitive offer. This often happens very quickly. Consumers starts receiving phone calls, letters, and emails once the information is shared.

While the practice may be annoying for the consumer, it is legal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and can provide a benefit to customers who want to compare prices on services. It also could prompt lenders to provide a more competitive rate to outbid the competition. In fact, we see trigger leads used by many legitimate companies to help increase sales.

However, there’s potential for distrustful companies to misrepresent themselves in these phone calls and trick borrowers. When business is slower, trigger leads become much more prevalent along with illegitimate offers. It’s important for consumers to carefully research the companies that are reaching out. With so many unsolicited offers, it’s possible the trigger leads could expose borrowers to potential identity theft.

You can stop this from happening. Consumers have the power to opt-out, even before the calls start. Opting out should stop trigger leads and pre-screened offers. This process can take time (usually up to 5 business days), so if you already had a hard inquiry on your credit, this may not block those immediate offers.


You can opt-out of pre-screened offers online or by phone:

  • Online: Opt-Out Pre-Screen is a joint venture among the three national credit bureaus to allow consumers to control pre-screened offers.
  • Phone:  1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688)

Add your number to the Do Not Call List: