Can Debt Collectors Use Social Media to Track You Down?
Did you know that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be used by debt collectors to track you down? Yes, it’s possible. Some even go as far as harassing you and your friends all in the bid to get money – which is illegal. Even though the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not forbid debt collectors from using social media, some caveats need to be adhered to. In the past, conventional debt collecting methods were used, but with the rise in technology, there is no missing the different unique ways to track down debtors. In this article, we will discuss the legality of using social media as a debt collecting tool as well as the different ways one can protect themselves on social media.
The use of social media as a debt collecting tool
Social media platforms are normally supposed to be used by debt collectors to locate their debtors or find out if there are any assets owned by said individual. However, most debt collectors have stopped playing by the rules and have devised different ways to badger people into paying up their debts. According to the provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to use sneaky ways on social media to track debtors down.
One of the caveats of the act states that debt collectors cannot use pretenses on these platforms when reaching out to the consumer – this means that they have to provide suitable disclosures on the site at all times. The use of social media to deceive third parties affiliated with the debtor is also prohibited. Debt collectors are also not to reveal to third parties the existence of any debt. However, it is crucial to note that these rules do not stop debt collectors who are growing increasingly aggressive in an effort to get their money.
Protecting yourself from these malicious debt collectors
Several social media platforms come with settings that allow you to determine the people that can see your information, and putting your profile on “public” is one of the reasons these unethical debt collectors can find you. This is not to frighten you, far from it. You can protect yourself from them especially if you are being harassed illegally.
Reporting predatory debt collection practices
The federal government has designed different processes for consumers to protect themselves from unethical debt collectors. You can write a letter to the debt collector to demand that they cease communicating with you. It is also essential that you neither deny nor confirm that you are the one responsible for said debt. It is very important that you check your credit report just in case there are any irregularities. If, after performing these steps, you are still being harassed by the collector, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Social media is a tool used by a wide variety of people from the old to the young, so it is no surprise that debt collectors are turning to it to track down people. However, there are ethical and legal ways to go about it.
If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you need protection. The Debt Relief and Education Foundation has pro bono attorneys that can help stop the harassment and get you back on the path to financial well-being. Contact The Debt Relief and Education Foundation today for a free consultation.