Over the past decade, the way debt collectors can legally contact you has expanded. In the past, they were restricted to letters and phone calls. Today though, with ever-present digital technology, debt collectors have the legal authority to use what is available – including social media.
While true, there are still rules related to how communication can occur. After all, you still have the right to privacy.
The legal landscape
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows debt collectors to contact consumers through social media if the communication adheres to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act stipulates that the communication must be private. Debt collectors cannot post public messages on your social media profiles. Also, they must clearly identify themselves and notify you of your rights with every communication attempt.
While debt collectors can legally contact you via social media, as a consumer, you have the right to set boundaries on how they can contact you. If you feel uncomfortable or harassed by a debt collector using this method of communication, you can request them to stop contacting you through that site. Debt collectors are legally obliged to respect your wishes. This helps you have some control over the communication methods used.
Protecting your privacy
You should use the privacy settings available on your social media accounts. This helps to ensure your information is not readily available. Check your privacy settings often, and don’t accept friend requests from people you do not know.
While debt collectors can legally contact you through social media, there are rules to protect you from harassment and privacy violations. Being informed about your rights and the boundaries you can set will help you avoid issues with debt collectors on social media. You may also want to explore all your debt relief options.