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Why Debt Collectors Love Facebook

September 29, 2010

Facebook is an internet social networking site that is just six years old, but it already boasts over 500 million active users.  That’s about 1 in 14 people in the world.  Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, or even network for business.  Unfortunately, many debt collectors have discovered that Facebook can be a gold mine for personal and financial information.


The typical scenario goes like this: the “under cover” debt collection agent will make a friend request in order to gain access to the debtor’s private information and friends.  Once the friend request is accepted the agent will monitor the posts and updates of the debtor, or may contact the debtor’s friends for information.


In many cases the agent is successful in locating assets or income that can be attacked by the collection agency.  In some extreme cases collection agents have discussed the delinquent financial obligation with the debtor’s friends and family in order to cause embarrassment and coerce payment.


Is this legal?  In some cases yes, in some cases no.  In most cases the debtor has no idea that a debt collector is posing as a friend on the Facebook account.  Information you share on your social network regarding your job, your assets, and even your travel plans may be used against you to collect a debt.


The best strategy is to avoid discussing financial matters on any social networking site.  It is also a good idea to closely screen new friend requests and exclude people that you do not know from your account.  While this debt collection activity is a recent phenomenon, it is certain to continue.  Protect yourself by being cautious about the information you share on-line.


Finally, if you are experiencing a debt problem you can’t solve by yourself, discuss your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  Once your bankruptcy case is filed any contact by a debt collector on a social networking site to your friends or family is a violation of the federal law and can be punished by a federal bankruptcy judge.  Don’t let debt collectors ruin your life.  The facts about bankruptcy and legally eliminate your debts.


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