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Rules for collecting debt via social media

Dec 01, 2011 Mike Garretson

Rules for collecting debt via social media
Debt collection activity has soared in recent years, as consumers increasingly strapped by high unemployment and weak wage growth have been unable to pay off their debts. Not surprisingly, complaints against collectors have also mounted.
 While certain organizations have been charged with unethical collection practices, most of the industry adheres to a code of conduct when enacting collection procedures for clients and indebted parties. More recently, collectors have begun using Facebook to target debtors. While the social networking giant has no official policy on online debt collection practices, there are some rules both debtors and collectors should be aware of. "[Collectors] can contact third parties to collect information on a debtor's contact information or location, but they cannot disclose the debt," reports Maranda Gibson for Signal News. "Once they locate the debtor, they must cease contact with the third party, unless they are a co-signer, the debtor's attorney or the debtor's legal spouse." Gibson also points out that collection agencies must disclose the company they work for and that they are attempting to collect payments. The details of the debt must also be disclosed in writing and include who the debt is owed to, the amount and the dates.