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Loose Lips May Sink Your Bankruptcy

June 20, 2011

 During World War II American servicemen were cautioned against careless talk that might reveal information useful to the enemy. One popular saying was, “Loose lips sink ships.” Today, debt collectors are using a variety of information sources to locate income and assets. A similar warning may be applied to bankruptcy debtors: “Loose lips may sink your bankruptcy.”

For some time debt collectors have used social media sites to discover information about a debtor. One popular method is through Facebook, which boasts more than 500 million active users. Some collectors make a friend request in order to gain access to the debtor’s private information and friends. Once the friend request is accepted, the collector will monitor the Facebook page for information concerning income and assets.

While Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with your friends and discuss what is currently happening in your life, it can also create problems when you reveal too much. For instance, pictures of your home (including furnishings), yourself wearing jewelry, or photos of Christmas or birthday presents could reveal assets that were not listed in your bankruptcy schedules, or perhaps were erroneously under-valued. Additionally, discussion about jobs or even hobbies may reveal un-reported or under-reported income.

Not only are debt collectors looking for this information, but the bankruptcy trustee, private creditors, or perhaps an angry ex-spouse or ex-business partner may also be interested. In most cases debtors adequately account for income and assets, and the information obtained on an individual’s Facebook page is negligible. But why take the chance? The best advice is to heed this advice: “Loose lips may sink your bankruptcy.” Be careful what you disclose publicly – especially over the internet.

If you are struggling with debt, discuss your financial situation with a bankruptcy attorney. A licensed bankruptcy attorney will keep your financial information confidential and give you legal advice that will lead to a financial fresh start.

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