GREENSBORO, N.C. — This looks familiar, right? Notifications on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger. You expect them to be messages from people you know, but as of this week, debt collectors can direct message you on social media.
The new Debt Collection Rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allows debt collectors to contact you on Facebook, Twitter, whatever social media account you have.
The rule limits debt collectors to sending you only private messages.
For example, the debt collector can't post on your Facebook wall for your friends or the public to see that you have an overdue bill. It has to be a direct, private message and let me warn you, the collectors can do it over and over and over again.
“Debt collectors will be able to send an unlimited number of messages via text, email, or social media and call you up to seven times a week, and maybe more,” said Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports.
Get this, a debt collector can actually send you a friend request. but they are required to disclose that they are a debt collector.
Let's take a closer look at what debt collectors can and can't do when it comes to calls.
WHAT DEBT COLLECTORS CAN’T DO:
Debt collectors can't harass you. Five times from the same collector a day falls into the harassment category.
Debt collectors can't pretend to be someone else. They have to identify themselves and who they work for.
Debt collectors can't contact your employer, your neighbor, or someone else to try and embarrass you.
WHAT DEBT COLLECTORS CAN DO:
Debt collectors can call you seven days a week from 8 am to 9 pm at night.
Debt collectors can call you at home or at work.
Debt collectors can call you for a debt that is outdated.
“The problem is, debt collectors are notorious for hounding consumers over debts that have already been paid off or were never owed in the first place,” said Gill.