May 01, 2011 Kyle Duncan
A Jacksonville, Florida, debt collection agency is under fire after it unlawfully implemented recouping tactics over Facebook, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The news source reports that an employee at MarkOne Financial once contacted Melanie Beacham 23 times in a single day via phone and text message, and even messaged her friends on the social networking site to try and discover her whereabouts. That provoked St. Petersburg woman to file a lawsuit. Beacham's lawyer, Billy Howard, believes social networking offers an intrusive new tactic for collection. "This is a new age of harassment," Howard told the media outlet. "A couple of key strokes you can use one of the oldest debt collectors' tricks there is - that is, to contact family members and friends." In response to the numerous complaints about agencies abusing social media, a Facebook group called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act A Group for Consumers, has emerged. The Sentinel adds that while the FDCPA does not specify the use of social media, the rule that a debt collector cannot tell a third party why they are asking for information or discuss a person's debt still applies.