When The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was first put into place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they couldn’t have imagined how far bill collectors would one day go to collect. Bill collectors aren’t allowed to contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., they can’t tell your family members about your debt, and they can’t threaten you.
Since their options have been limited, bill collectors are constantly looking for new ways to harass you to get what they want. A lot of things have changed in the world since the act was first written in 1978. It appears as if the act needs to be updated to deal with the changing of the times; however, in the meantime, you are still protected against these new tactics involving social media.
Bill collectors are now using social media as a vehicle to collect debt
One of the newest tactics used by bill collectors is to use social media to help locate people. According to a NBC News article, Joel Winston, who is with the FTC, said “Normally, collectors use social media to locate people or see if there are any assets that might be collectable, but we have received a few complaints about collectors who are using social media to either impersonate the person’s friends or otherwise use it for harassment.”
There have even been instances where they will post on a consumer’s page about their debt, and this is a clear violation of the FDCPA. In a recent article in Business Week, they spoke with a consumer who logged into her Facebook page and was shocked to find a message from a bill collector.
Tips to keep your social media presence private
There are ways you can do to ward off the debt collectors who are constantly crossing the line:
- Always use your privacy settings and be careful who you accept as a friend or follower.
- When posting on your page, be selective. Just because your pages are set to private, things can still happen – nothing is totally safe on the Internet.
- Keep in contact will bill collectors. If you keep avoiding them, they will think they have a reason to contact you at any price.
This is a new issue that attorneys and consumers are dealing with. Protect your consumer rights. If you are being harassed, please give me a call or set up an appointment at any of our consumer law offices, and we will be happy to assess your situation. We have offices conveniently located in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Salem.