Debt Collectors Troll Facebook To Get Paid - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Debt Collectors Troll Facebook To Get Paid

MSNBC.COM - Bill collectors have upped their game. They've added social media to their arsenal of tools. That's right, they're on Facebook, too!

"Normally, collectors use social media to locate people or see if there are any assets that might be collectable," notes Joel Winston with the Federal Trade Commission. "But we have received a few complaints about collectors who are using social media to either impersonate the person's friends or otherwise use it for harassment."

For debt collectors who don't want to play by the rules, social media can be a powerful way to badger someone. They can post messages that let the world know you owe a debt — a clear violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Florida attorney Billy Howard, head of the consumer protection department at the law firm of Morgan & Morgan, calls social media "a dangerous weapon" that some debt collectors use to deliberately harass people.

"They're using Facebook because it adds that extra shock value. The more shocking, the more harassing, the more outrageous, the more these debt collectors get paid," Howard says. "What makes it so dangerous is you can contact somebody's family and friends very quickly and very easily, and you can set off a domino effect of panic that can be devastating."

That's what Melanie Beacham of Tampa, Fla., said happened to her. Beacham fell behind in her car payments by $362. To collect the debt, MarkOne Financial called and called. They also sent e-mail and text messages.

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