Debt collection is big business in the U.S. In fact, according to the Congressional Research Officer, the industry is worth more than $13 billion annually. If you are behind on your bills, you can expect one of the roughly 7,000 debt collection agencies in the U.S. to try to get you to pay.
As you probably know, some debt collectors use shady tactics to harass those who owe money. While federal law places restrictions on what debt collectors can do, it also allows them to reach out to you in a variety of ways. One of these is through social media.
Messages should be private
Many social media platforms allow you and your followers to interact in a public forum. That is, those you know can post public messages on your social media accounts. Debt collectors, though, cannot message you publically on social media. If collectors want to contact you using social media, they must send private or direct messages to you.
Messages should be clear
Furthermore, debt collectors cannot be coy about the reason for their private messages. If a collector contacts you, you should immediately know who the collector is. You also should know the nature of the debt. If debt collectors give you insufficient information, they may not be following the law.
Harassment is never ok
Even though the squeaky wheel gets the grease, harassment is never acceptable. If you believe a debt collector is trying to harass you through social media, you probably have some options for stopping the harassment.
Ultimately, exploring these options as early as possible may keep your social media interactions from becoming a nightmare.