Social media used by debt collectors – be careful what you post

Here at OSM we’re constantly noting the ever-growing use of social media. In recent posts we’ve reported on how real estate agents now use social media and even more recently spoke of how funeral services are increasing their business by using it. Earlier today we also told of news coverage of Election Day 2010 particularly using social media.

However you may think you’ve heard just about every use by now for social media but before you carry on posting on Facebook, Twitter and other similar sites you may want to think about what you’re giving away as it seems that now debt collectors are using social media more and more frequently to catch up with people who owe money.

An article by Eileen Ambrose over on Philly.com tells how debt collectors are using information posted on sites such as Twitter and Facebook as fair game with Mark Schiffman, a spokesperson for debt collectors’ trade association ACA International, saying, “It’s just like debt collectors using the Yellow Pages. It’s another resource.” Not only could debt collectors find out if somebody is currently working for example but they can also gauge whether the person may have enough money to make repayments. If you’re bragging about your latest sunshine holiday or fancy car you may be giving the game away.

However consumer groups point out that although debt collector’s using social media is increasing there is still some federal consumer protection in place. For example a debt collector is not allowed to pretend to be a friend to get onto your Facebook page and other measures are in place to prevent debt collectors going too far using social media in order to collect a debt.

For more on this go to philly.com. One thing we all should remember is to always think twice before we post any information online. What do you think about debt collectors using social media in this way? Maybe you think it’s fair and people should be more careful about what they post on social media sites, or maybe you think otherwise? We’re interested to hear what you think so why not send us your comments about this.