(Grow) — Debt collectors have long been able to reach out to people who owe money by calling them, leaving voicemails, or sending snail mail. Now they have even more options.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ruled that starting last week debt collection agencies are allowed to use social media to contact people, meaning that you can expect direct messages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The new rule extends to text messages and emails as well.
Due to the Fair Debt Collection Act, debt collectors must follow a few rules: The message must be private, the debt collector must identify themselves as such, and they must provide a way to opt-out of messages.
Opening up debt collection to these platforms will likely lead to Americans receiving a barrage of messages, says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action. “Since there is no limit on the number of text messages or emails a debt collector can send, and they can send you private messages via your social media accounts, we expect that people who owe money will be bombarded,” she says.
Along with messages from real debt collectors, the rule might provide more opportunities for scammers, says Mike Litt, consumer campaign director at U.S. PIRG. “The new debt collection rules open people up to more harassment and scams,” he says. Almost one-third of Americans have fallen victim to phone scams, according to a report by Truecaller.
Here’s how to handle debt collectors who contact you using social media, text messages, and email.
Research the debt collector agency’s name
Debt collectors can send you a friend request on Facebook or follow you on Twitter but cannot post publicly on any social media timelines. If they say what agency they are part of, look it up. “We suggest consumers research the debt collection company’s name to verify that it is a legitimate business before communicating, replying to, or clicking on any URLs with the collector,” Sherry says.
The biggest debt collection agencies in the United States, according to Nexa Collections Debt Recovery, are Transworld Systems Inc., The Kaplan Group, Encore Capital Group, and Portfolio Recovery Associates.
Ask for proof of debt
A debt collector is required by law to provide you with certain information, according to the CFPB. The information includes the name of the creditor and the amount owed.
“Legitimate debt collectors must send you proof that you owe the debt, such as a copy of the original bill owed to the creditor,” Sherry says. “If a collector continues to hound you after you’ve asked for, but not received, a verification notice that explains what the debt is and how much you owe, chances are it’s a scam.”
You can opt out of messages from debt collectors
One collector can call you five times a day without it being “harassment,” according to the CFPB. The more debt you owe to different collectors, the more communications you can anticipate receiving. It’s important to remember that even if you owe a debt, you have the right to opt-out of communications.
Even the debt collectors contacting you on social media or via text message must provide a way to opt-out of messages, according to the new rule.
If a debt collector is harassing you or acting illegally, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or your state attorney general. Inquiries Original Article By: Aditi Shrikant
Should debt collectors have the right to try to contact debtors through social media? What should a person do to avoid debt collectors contacting them through social media?
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7 thoughts on “Debt collectors can now DM you on Twitter, Instagram: ‘We expect that people who owe money will be bombarded’”
This way it is better the messages arrive faster to the person and thus you can give the money faster and everything is better and faster.
I see this as completely unnecessary. Debt collectors already had ways ti contact debtors before. Why do they need more ways to do so? Its not going to get their money to them any faster. This also wont be any better for the debtor. These messages will serve as reminders of the painful debt some people may have. People can avoid these messages by not giving out their social media usernames. I really dont see how this would be a problem, since all you have to do is watch who you give your social media too. The only way they could get in contact with you is if you have you full name somewhere in your profile, like your bio
I don’t see this as a huge problem since there will still be ways to opt-out of these messages. To avoid debt collectors contacting you through social media you can keep your account private.
Debt collectors shouldn’t have the right to contact anybody through social media. They person in debt can get harassed by scammers and actually get scammed. The person in debt can just block the company to avoid getting any Dms.
I don’t think debt collectors should be dming the people that owe them money on social media because these apps are used for other things not to get u to worry
Technically is better if they arrive you by social media because that way the people will know when to Pay their debts but is going to be bad because for the people the dont pay will be bombarded with this and her even more stress out than the fact that they havent pay.
Debt collectors contacting you through social may not have much of an impact because if you are already avoiding their calls what makes you think you’re gonna reply on social media ?