Social media has exploded in popularity over the past few years. In fact, according to the University of Maine, roughly 4.48 billion people worldwide currently use social media to connect with friends, relatives and even strangers. In 2015, that number was slightly under 2.1 billion.
As you may suspect, debt collectors have long sought to capitalize on social media usage. That is, they have wanted to contact social media users about unpaid debts. While this is generally permissible, there are some meaningful rules about what debt collects can and cannot do.
Messages must be private
You probably can imagine the embarrassment that would come with having a debt collector post about your debts in a public forum. Luckily, doing so is off-limits, as debt collectors can only contact you through private messages.
Debt collectors must identify themselves
There are countless online scams going on at any given time. To protect you from falling victim to one of these scams, debt collectors must identify themselves during their initial interaction with you. Therefore, if a collector sends you a message on social media, you should immediately know who the collector is. You should also know what debt the collector is trying to collect.
Debt collectors must wait
If you default on your debt, you can expect your credit score to drop. Still, after messaging you on social media, a debt collector should wait at least 14 days to report your default to the major credit bureaus.
Ultimately, if you believe a debt collector is using social media inappropriately, you may have the power to stop online harassment.