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When you apply for a home loan and provide your personal information, you assume it's confidential between you and the lender, but your private info may actually be sold.  How?

Through something called a "trigger list" compiled by credit bureaus, your info may be sold by credit bureaus (such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to data marketing companies within 24 hours of your making a loan application, a rate inquiry or a request for a mortgage pre-approval letter.  Data marketing companies are then selling your name, credit and financial details, and your phone number and address to competing lenders in your area. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, these lists are perfectly legal.  According to the credit bureaus, the lists help consumers compare competitive offers. 

But consumers need to be forewarned.  You need to be cautious of "too-good-to-be-true" offers.  Also, if you move from a lender that you have locked in a protected rate with to go to another company that's offering a lower rate, there could be fees associated with this or you could get stuck with a higher rate than promised.

Some questions for you to ask to check out a lender and its offer: 

  • How long have they been originating loans?
  • Will they put in writing that they can guarantee closing on the rate and terms that they are offering?
  • Do you know the lender?  Check out the company through the Better Business Bureau

If you want to remove your name from receiving firm offers of credit or insurance, you can contact the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry's opt out line. Just call 888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or go to www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t.