When you apply for a mortgage, or even quietly ask for a rate quote, don't be surprised if that sensitive information almost immediately gets into the hands of other lenders, who will bombard you with competing offers. As explained in a well-done article in The Mercury News of San Jose, these other lenders can find out credit scores, open mortgage balances, loan-to-value ratios, monthly mortgage payments, revolving debt balances, plus other personal financial data about you.

The Merc has a great quote from the past chair of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers' credit score committee, Ginny Ferguson:

``Where is the line here? ... When do you begin to violate individuals' privacy rights?''

Where does this information come from? The big credit bureaus, of course. It's collected and sold to lenders by companies including Mortgage Inquiry Data of Coral Springs, Fla. Click here to visit the company's website, where a female cartoon with a posh British accent will give the pitch. Thanks to David Porter at Pacesetter Mortgage Inc. for pointing this out.
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