Facebook and Instagram are for posting selfies and making all of your high school friends jealous of your fab life. It’s most definitely not for helping debt collectors find you or advertising the fact that you’re in debt
Having a debt collector contact you, your friends or followers on social media about your debt is, as much social suicide as, not being on any social sites – at all. So before you hit deactivate button on your accounts –here are the 5 things you must know about your rights with debt collectors on social media.
Debt Collectors Cannot Do The Following On Social Media
- Send you friend or follow requests pretending to be an old classmate or acquaintance. (In other words – they can’t Catfish you into accepting their request to contact you to collect on your debt.)
- Tell Your Friends –or- Followers That You Owe Money. I’m sure it’s a Facebook thing, but why capitalize all the words? (Thumbs up to Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook strictly forbids info of this nature to be posted about you. Finally, sweet revenge for ever having a post removed by Facebook.)
- Post, Share, Tweet, etc… Any Info About Your Debt Publicly. (Unlike the details of the breakup an over-sharer in your news feed. This info can’t not be viewed by anyone but yourself. PS: This also includes tagging!)
- Pose as a government agency on social media to contact you or your followers about your debt. (Again – Catfishing or as your parents would say: “pretending to be someone else” isn’t cool & violates your rights.)
- Harass you, your friends, and followers on social media about your debt. (Now if only someone could teach your ex this rule…sigh.)
If A Debt Collector Is Violating Your Rights
If you feel that a debt collector is violating your rights on social media, you can file a complaint with the FTC by completing an online form. Visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#debt-collection
Click on the Debt Collection icon and answer the questions. The more information you can provide about the situation, the more useful your complaint will be. (Don’t forget to provide your contact information: name, address, phone number, email.)
You can also directly report any of the above mentioned violations directly to Facebook. If Facebook agrees with your claim, they could go as far as forever banning a debt collector from Facebook. (Putting up with all the ads in your news feed doesn’t seem as annoying anymore does it??)
Just as you wouldn’t leave your cell phone laying around unlocked for just anyone to rummage through – the same goes for your social media accounts. Periodically check your security and privacy settings, as they do tend to change from time to time, to control who can view your posts, friends list, and other info about you.
Don’t Let Debt Collectors Ruin Your Social Image
Now that you’ve successfully thwarted debt collectors from ruining your social image, the best way to shake debt collectors is to eliminate your debt.
If you’re struggling with debt, you’re not alone – we can help. InCharge Debt Solutions offers customized debt relief programs for consumers with credit card debt problems.
We work with your creditors to lower your interest rates so you can pay down your debts in a much shorter period of time.
Our certified financial counselors can also help you develop a balance a budget, manage your money, and build your savings.
In his 40-plus-year newspaper career, George Morris has written about just about everything -- Super Bowls, evangelists, World War II veterans and ordinary people with extraordinary tales. His work has received multiple honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Press Association. He avoids debt when he can and pays it off quickly when he can't, and he's only too happy to suggest how you might do the same.