Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become an integral part of our daily lives. We use them to connect with friends and family, share our opinions and interests, and stay updated on the latest news and trends. But what if a debt collector tries to contact you through social media? Are they allowed to do that, and if not, how can you stop it? Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated New York City debt collection harassment lawyer from Rahman Legal to learn more about your rights and how our legal team can help if those rights have been violated. Here are some of the questions you may have:
Can a debt collector reach out to me via social media?
Whether a debt collector is permitted to reach out to you concerning a debt via social media depends on a wide range of circumstances. To start, you should familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the rights it affords you as a consumer. The FDCPA is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. It applies to third-party debt collectors who are trying to collect debts on behalf of someone else, such as a creditor or a debt buyer. Importantly for consumers, the FDCPA limits how and when a debt collector can contact them regarding a debt they allegedly owe. It also provides consumers with rights concerning disputing debts or requesting additional information about them. Notably, FDCPA covers various forms of communication, including phone calls, letters, emails, and text messages. Although the FDCPA does not explicitly mention social media, it does prohibit debt collectors from contacting you by any means that is inconvenient, harassing, or embarrassing to you. This means that a debt collector may be violating the FDCPA if they:
- Send you a friend request, follow you, or tag you on social media without your permission
- Post a public message on your wall, timeline, or profile about your debt
- Send you a private message on social media that reveals your debt status or amount to anyone else who can see it
- Contact you on social media after you tell them to stop or after you hire an attorney
- Contact you on social media before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree to it
- Contact you on social media at your workplace if you tell them not to
- Use false or misleading information to trick you into accepting their contact request or opening their message
- Threaten or harass you on social media with legal action, arrest, violence, or other consequences that they cannot or do not intend to take
If a debt collector contacts you through social media in any of these ways, they may be breaking the law and violating your rights. You have the right to sue them for damages and seek compensation for any harm they caused you. You may also be entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Why should I hire a consumer lawyer to help with my case?
A consumer lawyer can help you pursue a claim against the debt collector and hold them accountable for their actions. A consumer lawyer can also help you:
- Verify the legitimacy and accuracy of the debt
- Dispute the debt if it is not yours or if it is incorrect
- Request validation of the debt and the identity of the original creditor
- Negotiate a settlement or payment plan with the debt collector
- Stop the debt collector from contacting you by sending a cease and desist letter
- Report the debt collector to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and your state attorney general
The bottom line is that if a debt collector has contacted you on social media, you absolutely should not ignore them. That said, you also should not respond to them without knowing your rights. Fortunately, if you have been contacted by a debt collector on social media and you are reading this, you have come to the right place. Simply contact Rahman Legal today so we can advise you on your rights and determine the best strategy going forward.