In this month’s Farm Credit Corner, we interview AgChoice Customer Service Specialist Emily Helman to learn more about unsolicited mail after a loan is closed.
Why are clients experiencing an increase in unsolicited emails and calls following a loan closing or refinance?
Let me start by saying that AgChoice does not sell or distribute borrower information. However, many companies, such as those that offer home guarantees, refinances, or mortgage protection insurance, will find information in public records or purchase information from one of the credit bureaus to create their own marketing lists for their products and services.
When a deed is registered, your name, the name of your lender, your loan amount and number, and your property address are all public records. Anyone can see the information, so individual businesses can collect your information and use it in their next marketing campaign. There are also direct marketing companies that analyze data and sell lists to other businesses looking for ways to expand their customer base.
That’s why you may see a reference to your lender in spam, but it’s not from your lender, or from a product or service recommended by your lender.
What should a person do if they are unsure of the legitimacy of a letter?
I recommend that you review every piece of mail you receive. I know we all get a lot of junk mail in our mailboxes, but you want to make sure you’re not throwing away or shredding something that’s legitimate. You don’t want to miss information about your loan, property taxes, or anything else that’s important to know. You might also receive a great offer for new windows or garage doors from a company you know and trust, and you don’t want to miss it either.
However, keep in mind that fraudulent mail solicitations often look like legal requests. A common solicitation is for home warranties. Make no mistake about it, even if it sounds like you need to buy insurance. I also heard of a solicitation with an offer to refinance your loans.
Again, your information was taken from public records or purchased from a credit bureau for others to market their products and services.
Is there a way for someone to opt out of receiving these solicitations?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to refuse consumer credit reporting companies to use your credit report information. While this won’t help you with all of your spam email solicitations, it can help with some, especially those related to pre-screened insurance and credit card offers. Go to OptOutPrescreen.com and fill out the form with your details. You can opt out for five years or permanently, and there are no fees.
If you receive a lot of unwanted phone calls from telemarketers, add your phone number to the do not call registry. Register your phone number on DoNotCall.gov or call 888-382-1222. Again, there is no charge for this service. Within a month of signing up, you should receive fewer telemarketing phone calls.
If in doubt about loan-related mail or calls, contact your lender to discuss any concerns you have about communications referring to your loan or other financial information. At AgChoice, communication mail from our borrowers will arrive in AgChoice printed envelopes and letterhead.
Carrie Bomgardner, Marketing Manager, AgChoice Farm Credit, 300 Winding Creek Blvd., Mechanicsburg, PA 17050; telephone, 717-796-9372 ext. 6019; toll free, 800-349-3568; fax, 717-796-9830, mobile, 717-576-8386; [email protected]