The advent of Facebook has brought forth many positives to its users. Connect with old and new friends, family members who live far away, and even the companies and brands you love to use. There are always downsides though, like the spammers and privacy issues.
Unfortunately debt collectors are also getting in on using social media to their advantage. Next time you get a friend request that looks suspicious you might need to do some digging around to decide if you really want to accept it.
Some collectors are attempting to ‘friend’ those in collections. However, more commonly they may just be using the network to get as much personal information of yours as they can. They might use the information to get your most up-to-date address, phone number, email address, and where you work.
If you post public pictures of your new car or upgrades done your home, the collectors will see that you have money and will attempt to collect their debt. If you ignore your collections and post private photos of new purchases it could even lead to getting fast-tracked to a court summons.
While collectors may not be able to harass or threaten the debtor online, some are taking it too far.
“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.” Joel Winston of the Federal Trade Commission told NBC News.
One of the best ways to combat the situation is to update your Facebook privacy settings every few months. Online privacy settings are always changing so it’s best to stay as up-to-date as possible. You also need to pay your debts off; debt consolidation might be an option to consider. If you continue ignoring your collections it will affect your credit score.
If you are being harassed by a collections company or agency, make a complaint with the Federal Trade commission. To read more about how collectors are turning to social media, visit U.S News.