Lead Aggregators, Trigger Leads, and Your Privacy
Every once in a while we receive a complaint from someone who believes HSH has sold their name to a mailing list company.
But thats not necessarily the case if you reply to an unsolicited email (spam) for great loan rates, or if you visit so-called aggregator websites. When you fill out even a simple form asking to have lenders compete for your business, the odds are great that your information will be sold to other companies -- and not necessarily just lenders -- many times. Most places could care less if you get a great loan, or any loan at all. They want your personal information to sell, and need to get you to provide it somehow. The promise of the best rate is just the bait.
If you actually apply for a loan on aggregator sites, the odds are about 100% that your name and personal financial details are going to be sold. Lots of people are ready to compete for your business, all right: lenders, and others, are willing to pay big money for the chance to make a sale. Selling your name is big business.
Unlike other sites, HSH doesn't claim well find you the best loan rate, or the best four quotes, etc. Its possible that HSH is the only company that doesn't sell your name to all comers -- we just dont know -- but there are plenty that do. There are two types of companies that sell your name:
- Lead aggregators -- some masquerade as a lender -- who are in the business of collecting information and selling sales leads, and
- The credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and Innovis.
Some of the largest aggregators are those that who ask you to fill in their form so that they can then select a handful of the best lenders for you. In general, however, most of these work with only a few specific lenders, and they may or may not be the best lenders for you.
There are many other aggregators with websites that simply encourage you to "Fill in the form! Get lots of offers!" They're right, you will - because they sell your name as often as they can.
Lenders routinely check your credit with the credit bureaus when you apply for a loan. Then the credit bureaus -- without your permission or notifying you -- typically begin selling your name within about 24 hours to lenders (and other businesses) whose profile you meet. This is what's known as a trigger lead.
Trigger leads are extremely valuable for two reasons:
- They announce that you are serious about getting a loan, and
- They include your name, address, phone number, credit score, current debt and debt history, property information, age, gender and estimated income.
Trigger leads are sold to anyone who wants them. CBS News recently aired an article about one couples eye-opening experience as their phone rang off the hook with unsolicited sales calls.
Did You Know?
While Credit reporting companies are (so far) permitted to include your name and other personal information on lists which they sell to lenders and insurers, the good news is that, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have a right to opt out of such offers. This will then forbid credit reporting companies from selling your credit file information.
It's worth it to keep your personal information, well, personal.