Debt collectors use some pretty harsh or tricky techniques sometimes in order to get in touch with a consumer or persuade them to pay. One aspect of debt collections that is becoming an increasing problem is the use of social media sites like Facebook to facilitate debt collections. These days, it isn’t just your friends that are watching what you do and say on sites like these, but debt collectors are also spying on you.
Debt collectors have a tough job and many become pushy over time. While the use of social media sites is prohibited under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, many collectors are still using the internet to their advantage. They may be spying on you to find out what you are buying, how they can find you and may even contact your friends in attempt to get a hold of you. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself from unfair debt collection practices and keep your private life away from the eyes of creditors.
First, make sure your social media site is set to “private”. Never allow your personal information or private life to be public for anyone to view, but set your privacy settings to “friends only” or such that someone must first request to be connected with you. Also, keep your phone number and email address inaccessible on sites like these as well so that no one can view this information without asking you. Avoid posting overly personal pictures or status updates about where you are, what you are doing or items you have purchased for increased privacy. You can also contact Facebook administrators to report the person or company attempting to contact you or engaging in harassing behavior.
Next, know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Trade Commission is working to better educate consumers about their rights and ways to prevent unfair debt collections. If you have become victim to an unfair or unlawful debt collection practice, report it to the FTC right away. Be sure to include the name of the creditor and give a detailed description of the violation. If a social media site or other internet based program was used to contact or harass you, print off a copy of the text to provide the FTC with further evidence.