In a wildly bizarre move — debt collectors in America are about to have quite a few new tools to chase down people who owe money (remember never pay them until they can legally on paper verify who; what, where, how much, and why.) Under the Trump Administration, the government passed a new rule to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that now allows as of Tuesday for collectors to contact people by social media.
Yes you’re reading that right. If you suddenly start getting more requests; followers, or random weirdos on the gram they’re probably debt collectors who’ve managed to trace you via online tactics that have been questionable for years. With the opening of social media accounts to debt collectors, however, the new rule does bring in some strict rules that must be followed at all times.
According to the rule change, collectors are only allowed 7 calls per week per account that they manage to find (hint: you should probably remove your government name from your social media profiles if it is there.) We’re recommending that simply because the new rule is already understood to be inviting scammers and others posing as debt collectors. Please understand that it is the law in the United States that a debt collector of any kind (small or large) must lawfully identify themselves. Furthermore, debt collectors on any medium no matter online or off must also recite the infamous debt collection schpeel that most people are probably familiar with.
Failure to do so online or off is a violation of the law and you can report this to the authorities. Text messages are also expected to increase from collectors, however, dealing with mobile phones is a tad different because it is a private cellular device.
Because this is a touchy subject for Americans we’re going to attach a few helpful tips to remember with this new rule change:
- When contacted by a debt collector you should never pay a dime until you receive in full in letter format a notice stating who; what, where, how much, and why. Debt collectors are notorious liars most of the time and often will fail to tell you that your debt may be very old; time-barred, or that they can no longer actually sue or collect on it in the normal ways that one would. (We’ll explore what some of those things mean below.) Remember that it is your right to receive this letter do not let them tell you otherwise.
- A debt collector on or offline can in no way harass; intimidate, threaten, or lie to you no matter what they say to you. Always in the beginning of the call ask for an agent ID; have them clearly state where they are calling from, and take notice of the date and time that the incident occurred. The same recommendation goes for requesting legal notice of the debt. Debt collectors are required to honestly tell you if your debt is time-barred among other things.
- Debt collectors have generally about 5 days to send you a full notice of the debt from the first point of contact. There is no ifs; ands, or butts. In the longer run, according to what we found online, once you’ve made the request they have a maximum of about 30 days to ensure you have that letter in your hands. It is a vital component of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and must be followed. Failure to do so means that they lose the ability to sue you for the debt eventually leaving the debt to become what is known as a “Zombie Debt” (which cannot be collected because it is what is called time-barred.
- Your state probably has its own debt collection laws it is always VERY important that you familiarize yourself with them because debt collectors aren’t always in the same state as you are.
- Messages sent by social media from collectors ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE VIEWABLE BY ANYONE ELSE WHEN THEY SEND IT TO YOU. IF THIS IS THE CASE, THEY’VE NOW VIOLATED THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT.
- You have the legal right to opt of being contacted on social media and that must always be available to you. Collectors are not allowed to impersonate someone else; lie about who they are,or coerce you in any way on social media.