I first published this on November 16th, 2006 – it is really importand and you need to read it if you plan on applying for a mortgage.
Follow this link and read Mortgages Undressed for expert information and commentary about this assault against your privacy and against your credit rating.
Did you know that the credit bureaus are selling your information?
Here’s breaking news you need to know
Having credit checked is an important and necessary step in the home buying process. But very few people realize that each time their credit is checked, the “inquiry data” that the credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Innovis or Experian) have on file have now become a commodity. This information is now available for sale to other lenders…but also to companies that sell and resell the same names and personal information.
That’s right – the credit bureaus have found a way to increase their revenues at your expense….and without your permission. These “inquiry leads” include name, address, phone numbers (including unlisted), credit score, current debt and debt history, property information, age, gender and estimated income. They are marketing personal, confidential information to competing creditors…and making millions. Your privacy is being sold, not just once, but over and over again.
The lenders that have purchased these leads at a premium will then do everything they can to recoup their investment and turn a hefty profit. And quite often, sneaky bait and switch tactics are being used to lure clients away from their reputable lender. Clients have even been called by disreputable lenders and told that the lender they had been speaking to previously “passed on” the client information to them, because they knew that they’d be able to offer much better interest rates and terms. Ouch!
The good news is that you can make it stop – for yourself, and for your clients. And what a great, valuable service you’ll provide by simply forwarding this email on, or making copies of this article and giving to all of your clients and prospects.
The consumer credit reporting industry has provided a way to “opt out” and remove your name from these lists. You can contact them by phone at 1-888-567-8688 or online at http://www.optoutprescreen.com. Your clients must opt out at least 48 hours prior to having your credit checked to make sure it is processed in time. You can choose a five year or lifetime option, and the lifetime option does require a signed form. If a credit report needs to be run prior to the 48 hour waiting period – at least your clients are aware and informed, and can be on the lookout for suspicious phone calls or mailers from someone who has purchased their data.
BONUS: Opting out will also protect you and your clients from “pre-approved credit offers” arriving via mail…one of the leading causes of identity theft in the US.
Clients certainly have the right to shop for the best professional to meet their lending needs – but this should be done when and how the client chooses to look around, not being done without permission. These unsolicited marketing tactics are a nuisance and intrusive, but unfortunately quite legal. Take your privacy back. Inform your clients, so they can take their privacy back too. Take five minutes right now – opt out, and pass it on. Refuse to be a part of this system.