Blocked! Who slips into your DMs? Could be a debt collector

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Christmas is not the only way to get into debt. There are actually a number of different reasons people end up in the hole and now there are a number of new ways for debt collectors to contact you.

In the past, you may have received calls and letters in the mail seeking to collect debt. This will continue, but from now on you can also receive emails, texts and even direct messages on your social media accounts from debt collectors.

According to Business Insider, these are federal rules that came into effect in late November that allow debt collectors to text and email New Yorkers, as well as direct messages to you on Instagram and Twitter. You might even get a friend request from a debt collector on Facebook!

Apparently, federal officials felt it was time to update the debt collection rules, as institutions are working with standards in place and unchanged since 1977. Not everyone agrees.

Contacting borrowers on social media is very invasive, beyond just catching up with the technology we currently have. I think it might encourage misconduct by allowing debt collectors to search people’s private social media accounts. – Andrea Bopp Stark – National Center for Consumer Law

It’s not exactly the open season for collectors though. They have to follow certain rules and you have rights.

  • Collectors are required to identify themselves as debt collectors
  • Collectors should give you the option to opt out of being contacted online
  • Collectors should be given the option to opt out if they text or email
  • Collectors are only allowed to call you once per day.
  • Phone calls that go directly to voicemail are counted as one of the seven calls.

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