How to Prevent Your Credit Profile from Being Sold

How to Prevent Your Credit Profile from Being Stolen - In the Know with Tom Heath
How to Prevent Your Credit Profile from Being Stolen - In the Know with Tom Heath

It’s called a “Trigger Lead”– a consumer applies for a home loan with The Heath Team or any other lender and within minutes, may have a call or email solicitation from other lenders.  NOVA does not sell your information, but we do need a credit report for your loan review and the credit agencies have no restrictions on selling your information to the highest bidder or bidders.   Trigger Leads are expensive, so when there is a strong mortgage business, we don’t see them as often. However, we are now seeing an increase in the number of Trigger Leads hitting the market for 3 reasons:

  • National home sales are sluggish
  • Rates are up, slowing the volume of refinances
  • Volume Lenders are running out of ways to generate leads.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Credit Reporting Companies, like Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers.  So, you may end up with call-in and email offers of credit or insurance that you didn’t request. That’s in part why you get “pre-approval” letters for credit cards in the mail.  The FCRA does set up some rules for these offers:

  • If an offer is made, it must be firm. In other words, they must honor the offer if the criteria they used is accurate
  • Consumers must be able to opt out of this temporarily or permanently
  • Consumers must be allowed to opt back in, if they choose.

The FCRA also provides you the right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for Firm Offers.  The problem is, most consumers do not know this and the rules of it are buried in the fine print.  Opting-out temporarily is actually quite simple– permanently takes a few more steps.  To start either process:

  • Go to
  • Follow the instructions at the bottom to opt-out.
  • Keep an eye on the mail.  FCRA requires an actual signed form to permanently opt-out.

When you complete the electronic form, it’s good for five years and they must mail you the form for the permanent option within five days.  Fill that out and return it to remain off the list until you choose otherwise.