According to Johnston, “the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to protect consumers against abusive practices by the debt collections industry. But when FDCPA took effect in 1978, few people could have anticipated how Facebook and Twitter would infiltrate our daily lives. In recent years, a handful of lawsuits by consumers who were allegedly contacted by collectors through social media have brought the issue to light.” Thanks to debtor’s eagerness to (over) share, collectors can use information found on a social network to contact you.
Johnson reports the following strategies to preempt unwanted calls or other communication from collectors:
- Respond within 30 days of receiving a collections letter with a “do not contact me anymore” letter within 30 days. They can still sue you for the debt, but they cannot send you emails or call you anymore.
- Use those privacy settings.
- Be selective about what you post.
- Do not accept friend requests from strangers.
- Skip the “like” button for banks and credit card companies you use.
- Increased Use of Social Media by Debt Collectors Reported (prweb.com)
- Florida Consumer Turns Tables On Debt Collector — Sued For $800.00 Dollars, Consumer Collects $120,000.00 Dollars From Debt Collector (prweb.com)
- Common Debt Collector Violations under the FDCPA (plan-for-now.com)
- Protect yourself from debt collectors (money.cnn.com)