As discussed in the previous post, some debt collectors have been using Facebook and other social media sites to deliberately harass consumers. While debt collectors can use social media to locate consumers, they cannot use it to harass them. They also cannot harass their friends and families or pose as friends or acquaintances in order to gain access to their site and harass them.
Creditors or third-party agencies looking to collect a debt cannot threaten harm or legal action. They cannot say you will be arrested or lie or bluff about other legal actions they are going to take unless they truly are going to take them as permitted by law.
If a creditor cannot find a person through other means, they may contact a family member to get contact information, but at least two people in Florida have said that debt collection agencies had their contact information and still contacted friends and family about a debt on Facebook in order to harass and embarrass them.
A Tampa, Florida, woman whose case is discussed in a recent MSN Today piece says that she had even already agreed to a payment plan with the company to pay her debt on a car payment before the company contacted her family and friends. The woman sued the debt collection agency for violating state and federal law in its debt collection practices. The case is still pending, but so far a judge has told the debt collection company to stop contacting the woman via Facebook.
While it is illegal for creditors to harass people through Facebook, it is still best to review your privacy settings to make sure that your contact information and lists of friends and family and other personal information is not available to creditors trolling Facebook.
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