Recent changes in laws allowing debt collectors to use social media to contact consumers will inevitably lead to a rise in fraudulent collection practices. Social media offers a cheap and direct line to many consumers and will allow fraudulent debt collection collectors to get rich by scamming consumers out of millions. Here are several signs to alert you to fraudulent and abusive debt collectors on social media.
- Debt Collectors Contacting You Publicly. While debt collectors can send you friend requests or join groups you are a member of, they must disclose that they are debt collectors and can only message you privately. If a supposed debt collector is communicating with you publicly on social media that is a sign that it is a scam.
- Debt Collectors the Withhold Relevant Information. Legitimate debt collectors are obligated to share specific details about your debt with you. If a supposed debt collector contacts, you and doesn't want to reveal all the specific details of your particular debt it is most likely a scam.
- Debt Collectors that Aggressively Threaten or Harass You. All debt collectors are bad actors and will lie to you to collect debts, but the ones that go out of their way to threaten or harass you are most likely scams. Legitimate debt collection companies understand where the lines are drawn and will cross those lines subtly in many situations. Sometimes they will break those lines, but for the most part legitimate companies stay away from threatening jail and other extreme threats.
- Debt Collectors Usually Accept Payment thru Traditional Means. If the supposed debt collector is pushing you to pay in bitcoin or thru wiring or money transfers this is a sign of a scam.
The good news is that there are laws to protect consumers against legitimate debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive and unfair tactics used by debt collectors. In Florida we have also have the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (FCCPA) which applies to debt collectors and the original creditors as well. Anytime you are contacted by a debt collector you should do the following:
- Note the time and date of the call.
- Note the name of the company and individual you are speaking to.
- Ask them what debt they are attempting to collect on.
- Request that they send you something in writing.
- Note everything they say to you.
- Do not give them sensitive information such as your social security number, home address or date of birth.
If you are contacted by a debt collector on social media or anywhere else call save all the information and call us before you do anything else.