Now that debt collectors can take to social media, what are the ground rules? – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Debt collectors are given the green light to post social media posts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They may also request you as a friend.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released new rules which came into effect last November – updating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which first came into effect in 1977.

Read on to learn more about social media contact rules.

No excessive messages; messages must be private

“They can’t post in a way that would be visible to the general public or even just visible to your social media contacts,” says April Kuehnhoff, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Social media posts should be private, so a debt collector cannot post to your page or comment.

When sending a message, the debt collector must identify themselves and wait at least 14 days after messaging to notify the credit bureaus that a consumer has defaulted on their debt.

the CFPB said he would not tolerate excessive posting on social media. How much is too much? An exact number is unclear.

The CFPB defines excessive phone call attempts, including voicemail, as seven calls in seven days about a single debt.

Kuehnhoff explains that the CFPB has not defined excessive attempts on social media: “Although the consumer does not know exactly what this line is, consumers have rights.”

Consumers can opt out of direct messages on social media

You have the right to unsubscribe from messages on social networks. The new rules require debt collectors to provide an easy way to stop further communication on social media.

Kuehnhoff said consumers can communicate directly with the debt collection agency on the best ways to get in touch.

The CFPB has sample letters you can use to write to a debt collector if you are contacted about a debt that is not yours, if you need more information, if you want the debt collector to stop contacting you, or if you prefer another mode of communication.

If that doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the CFPB by calling 855-411-2372 or submitting a complaint online. here.

A CFPB spokesperson said: “We will not tolerate excessive emails, texts or DMs, and we expect debt collectors to verify consumer identities as well as debts under -lying. Far too many Americans are being harassed to pay money they don’t owe. Contacting the wrong person about a debt is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the new rules.

The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals said it invested thousands of hours and significant resources to comply with CFPB rules.

“The CFPB must work with the accounts receivable management industry to address concerns to ensure that clear compliance standards exist so that consumers can receive the information they need to preserve their access to credit and services in the future. Consumers deserve to know the options available to them to resolve their legal obligations through modern forms of communication,” said Leah Dempsey, vice president of ACA International and senior counsel for Federal Advocacy.

A word about scams

The National Consumer Law Center said consumers should beware of scam artists who don’t collect a legitimate debt. Don’t click on links sent to you by someone you don’t know.

the Federal Trade Commission says to beware of anyone who wants you to repay a debt you don’t acknowledge. If the foreigner does not provide their postal address or telephone number, this is a red flag.

The Texas Debt Collection Act also states that debt collectors cannot use obscene language or threaten to use violence. You can also contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office if you believe a debt collector failed to follow Texas law.

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