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MISLEADING MARKETING PRACTICES: LENDING COMPANIES USING YOUR BANK’S REPUTATION WITHOUT PERMISSION

MISLEADING MARKETING PRACTICES: LENDING COMPANIES USING YOUR BANK’S REPUTATION WITHOUT PERMISSION

In today’s competitive market, lending and other companies are consistently vying for your business. Some will do almost anything to get your attention. While consumers are constantly bombarded with electronic ads, and the dangers of online scams, the average buyer has evolved and will research before signing the dotted line.

Other lending and insurance companies have had to find new ways to appear reputable and worthy of your business. The latest of these trends involves snail mail or text messages, your banks name, and an offer you can’t resist. Marketers for these companies have resorted to purchasing trigger leads. They use the information they gather to make their marketing materials seem legitimate. They utilize your bank’s name on their documents without having any affiliation or permission from your bank to do so.

How can I tell if a document is from my bank?

Inspect the envelope. Make sure that the return address matches your bank. If there is a call to action in the document, verify that the call back number and any mailing addresses are the same as your bank’s business listing on their website or in the phone book.

Read the fine print. Often times you will find a statement in the document stating that your bank is not affiliated, sponsoring, or authorizing this contact. Text messages are also designed to look like they are being sent by your bank. When in doubt, call your bank.

What are trigger leads?

When you authorize a credit report to obtain a loan, the information in your report becomes part of the credit bureau’s trigger lead program. Credit bureaus such as TransUnion, Equifax, Innovis, and Experian sell your information to other less scrupulous lenders and insurance agencies to allow them to contact and solicit your business (Harney, 2018). 

Data Brokers

In other cases, you may be wondering how telemarketers and spammers obtained your information in the first place. Have you ever agreed to “terms & conditions” without reading the fine print? Personal data is routinely collected, bought, and sold by hundreds of companies from grocery store loyalty programs, shopping online, social media sign ups, online quizzes, or even registering to vote. Data Brokers collect your personal data and sell it to marketers for direct access to their target audience, you (Grauer, 2018). 

How is this legal?

Trigger Leads are protected under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which passed in 1970. Trigger leads could potentially allow consumers an easier way to compare costs and terms. Unfortunately, the companies who purchase these leads may not have the best track record in their business practices (Sweet, 2019).

How to prevent trigger leads

If you want to protect your personal information, or simply avoid annoying sales tactics, there are a few things you can do.

Opt out of trigger leads

Go to OptOutPrescreen.com to be placed on a registry to exclude your name from lists that are sold by credit bureaus. If you complete the online form it will opt you out for a five year period. If you print out and complete the mail-in request you will be opted out permanently. This registry takes 5 days to go into effect.

Register to the National Do not Call Registry

Go to donotcall.gov to prevent telemarketing calls. This registry takes 31 days to go into effect.

Stop mail solicitation

DMAchoice.org is a tool to stop loan and other offers via mail. Registration costs $2 and lasts for 10 years (Sweet, 2019).

 

If you have any questions, regarding mortgage or consumer loans please visit our page here.

 

 

References

Grauer, Y. (2018, March 27). What Are 'Data Brokers,' and Why Are They Scooping Up Information About You? Retrieved February 21, 2020, from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjpx3w/what-are-data-brokers-and-how-to-stop-my-private-data-collection

Harney, K. R. (2018, February 27). Your mortgage application may trigger competitors to tempt you with other offers. Retrieved February 21, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/your-mortgage-application-may-trigger-competitors-to-tempt-you-with-other-offers/2018/02/26/7760f9e8-1b22-11e8-ae5a-16e60e4605f3_story.html

Sweet, J. (2019, April 2). What Is a Trigger Lead and Is It Legal? Retrieved February 21, 2020, from https://www.lendingtree.com/credit-repair/what-is-a-trigger-lead/

 

Article Author: Chantel S. Burch

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