A debt collection
agency in Florida that used social media to track down its cases will no longer be able to use the tactic following a decision handed-down by a Pinellas County Judge, the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird ruled that a Jacksonville-area debt collector could not use Facebook to track down a woman who was late on her car payments. The case asserts that the debt collector used Melanie Beachem's online friends list to contact her friends and family regarding her whereabouts. Such actions violate state law, according to consumer attorney lawyer Billy Howard. Howard told the Times that the debt collector's actions qualify as harassment and that Beachem's case is one of nearly a dozen that have come across his desk regarding debt collectors and social media tracking. The Associated Press reports that the collection agency attempted to contacted Beachem "six to 10 times" by phone, in addition to sending text messages, sending a courier, contacting her neighbors and other means.