Individuals facing financial peril understand the lengths to which debt collectors will go to communicate a repayment. While they can be persistent, debt collectors must follow numerous rules and regulations in reaching out to people with outstanding debts. Recently, however, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revised some rules to allow debt collectors to contact borrowers through their social networking accounts.
In years past, debt collectors could rely on phone calls, letters and email to reach you, but regulations forbade the use of certain tactics, including:
- They cannot pretend to work for a government agency
- They cannot threaten to have you arrested
- They cannot try to collect debt you do not owe
- They cannot harass you
- They cannot publicly shame you
The last restriction is where most of the social media rules fall. While the debt collector can send you a direct message through the social platform, they cannot discuss your debt in a public forum. For example, the collector is within his or her boundaries to email you on Facebook Messenger but cannot publish a post on your wall discussing your outstanding debt.
Additionally, the debt collectors cannot misrepresent themselves as a friend, co-worker or social contact to gain your confidence and approval online. They cannot mislead you into a conversation.
As the rules and regulations surrounding debt collection continue to evolve, it is wise to understand what these agencies can and cannot do. If you are facing financial difficulties, you are likely feeling stress from multiple sources. Do not hesitate to ask for guidance as you work toward a more stable financial future.