A new Debt Collection Rule within the Fair Debt Collection Protections Act (FDCPA) concerning social media contacts became effective on November 30, 2021. This new rule allows debt collectors to contact you through social media for the purpose of collecting an outstanding debt. Tennessee consumers need to be aware of this possibility and be prepared to respond accordingly. The Nashville Debt Defense Attorneys at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC want you to know what debt collectors can and cannot do on social media.
Can A Debt Collector Contact Me Through Social Media?
The short answer is yes; the new rule clarification within the FDCPA allows debt collectors to contact you through social media, including texts and email, but they must strictly follow certain rules. As always, threatening or obscene language or other forms of harassment are against the law and should be reported promptly. This should be easier with a contact through social media, because the conversation is preserved on your platform account.
Here are the rules a debt collector must follow when contacting you about a debt through social media:
- The message must be private. Any public contact on your posts that is viewable by others is prohibited. This means no comments or public replies to your posts or comments you make on your or other users’ posts. A debt collector may communicate with you through:
- the social media platform’s private messaging application
- The debt collector must identify themself. If a debt collector attempts to send you a private message requesting to add you as a friend or contact, sends an email or text, the debt collector must identify themself as a debt collector. This includes the first contact when requesting that you connect with them.
- The debt collector must include a way for you to stop receiving messages from them. When contacting you through your social media’s private messaging application, text or email, the debt collector must provide a means for opting out of such communications on that platform.
If you’re having an issue with debt collection, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
How Should I Handle Text, Email or Social Media Contacts from a Debt Collector?
If the first notice you receive of owing a debt is through text, email or social media, beware. Debt collectors are known to be aggressive in pursuit of collecting unrecovered debt, but scams abound on the Internet. Many debt collection scams often walk the line or even cross it into bullying or manipulative activity. Text and email scams are primary ways scammers and other bad actors seek to trick or manipulate the unwary into surrendering private information.
A good rule of thumb is to never open emails or texts from unknown senders. If your phone or computer warns you of a suspicious text or email, delete it immediately. The same should apply to invitations to become friends or followers with someone on social media you do not know. Do not agree to friend requests from unknown users and never accept unknown private messages. Delete them immediately.
If you happen to open one of these communications from a debt collector, they must provide a means for you to opt out of receiving communications from them over that particular platform. Use this and cut off connections. It is always safer to communicate by phone or standard mail than electronically.
Experienced Help with Debt Collection in Tennessee
A Debt Defense Attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC can help when you are contacted by a debt collector. Below are some helpful links to help you get started:
- Why is a Debt Collector Calling or Messaging Me?
- What Happens If I Avoid a Debt Collector?
- What Are Considered “Unfair” Debt Collection Practices?
- May I Tell a Debt Collector to Stop Contacting Me?
Our Tennessee Debt Defense Attorneys can help you stop the nagging calls and communications while working with you to build a strategy to relieve your debt without placing even more burdens on your family. Contact us by phone at (615) 845-4595 or complete the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.