The Age Of Social Media Debt Collections Is Here
The thrill of socializing on the Internet has always been marred by unpleasant social interactions. For all the camaraderie offered by text-only bulletin board systems of the 1980s that tied up the phone lies by being accessible only through dial-up connections, there were always a few abrasive characters among the amiably like-minded geeks. Millennials spent their high school and college days delighting in chatting with their friends on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), but unsolicited flirtatious messages from lonely guys you had never met often crossed the line into sexual harassment. With the World Wide Web came trolls spewing hatred in comments on blog posts and even on their own hate-filled passion project web pages. By the time Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites debuted, the ugliness of the Internet reached fever pitch. Unfortunately, the Internet just got uglier, now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has authorized debt collectors to contact borrowers via social media in an effort to collect payment. Before you assume that the troll messaging you on social media is a real creditor and that the debt they are seeking to collect is real, contact a Philadelphia consumer law attorney.
Don’t Feed the Debt Collection Trolls
Last year, for the first time since the late 1970s, the CFPB updated its guidelines about fair debt collection practices and what constitutes creditor harassment. The new guidelines, which went into effect this month, state the rules of engagement regarding debt-related communications via email, text message, and social media. The rule about social media communications are as follows:
- When creditors contact you via social media, the message must be private, visible only to the sender and the recipient, not to the general public or to members of either party’s social network (such as all their Facebook friends).
- The creditor must identify themselves as such in the initial message and indicate that the communication is an attempt to collect payment.
- The communication must state that the borrower has the right to opt out of receiving further communication from the creditor, and it must contain instructions on how to stop receiving messages from the creditor.
Just as social media is replete with fake friends, fake love interests, fake business opportunities, and all kinds of other scams, it is almost inevitable that fake creditors will seize the opportunity to message people and try to get them to pay debts they no longer owe, if those debts ever even existed. Before you pay any money to the people or bots who message you on social media, do your own research about the debts they claim that you owe them.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
A Philadelphia consumer law attorney can help you develop such an airtight debt repayment strategy that you will be able to confidently ignore the social media messages you get from wannabe creditors and debt collection trolls. Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.