Facebook can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with old friends that live in faraway places. The danger, of course, is that if your privacy settings are not correct, all kinds of people can track down and view your digital identify—including debt collectors.
In Florida, a consumer recently filed suit after a debt collector allegedly used Facebook to contact a debtor’s relatives in an attempt to collect on a debt.
The alleged contacts
The consumer notified her auto loan company that due to a medical leave of absence, she would likely fall behind on her payments. Within two months, the company ramped up efforts to collect on the debt.
The consumer alleges that she received up to twenty phone calls a day. In addition, she alleges that the company friended her cousin and sister—providing a phone number and asking that they tell the consumer to call them. The company used a false name of “Jeff Happenstance” when making the Facebook contacts.
Is there a dislike button?
The company responded to media inquiries by saying they only use Facebook when there is no other way to contact the debtor. That seems like an odd explanation, given that the consumer is alleging they called her up to twenty times a day.
In addition, using an obvious false name like “Jeff Happenstance” likely violates numerous provisions of the FDCPA.
Nevertheless, this case is an example of the growing trend of debt collectors using social media to track down debtors.