Debt Collectors Using Facebook to Keep Tabs on Debtors
If you're one of the millions of people who use Facebook to stay in touch with loved ones and are behind on any of your bills – beware. Debt collectors have been using Facebook to keep tabs on debtors and embarrass them in front of their family and friends. Although this debt collection practice likely violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), they're doing it anyway.
Facebook Friends and Disguised as Debt Collectors
Facebook, the popular website which allows you find out what's going on with your family and friends – and their family and friends if you'd like – is now being used by debt collectors and debt buyers, also known as zombie creditors – companies who purchase debt for pennies on the dollar and then do whatever it takes, often illegally, to collect that debt. However, they're dangerous friends to have.
According to an article in The Consumerist, a debt collection company used a young attractive woman (a “cute chick” as the article referred to her) who was allegedly employed as a skip tracer (someone who tries to locate debtors who aren't paying their bills) to become friends with people who owed a debt attempting to be collected by CBV Collections in Vancouver, Canada.
The woman got herself added as a friend to over 600 debtors' Facebook accounts before telling them that she had turned over their information to the debt collection company. As anyone who uses Facebook knows, any friends in your network are privy to what's written on your Facebook wall – which is more than a little embarrassing.
Sneaky and Illegal Debt Collection Practices
The practice of using Facebook in this way likely violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which requires debt collectors to be truthful and treat debtors with fairness, dignity and respect.
Unfortunately, many debt collection companies simply ignore those rules – and in some cases – have caused irreparable damage. In fact, a recent Florida widow claims that a debt collection company used such shocking tactics, that it caused her husband's death due to a heart attack.
If you've been harassed by a debt collector or debt buyer, contact an experienced debtors' rights attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. The FDCPA provides for damages to victims of illegal debt collection activity.