By using Facebook, and other social networking sites, you can look up information on a long lost friend, someone you may be interested in dating, or do some investigating on your daughter’s new boyfriend.
This brings up the question, where would you look to find dirt on someone? Would you look in the same places? ABSOLUTELY! But are Debt Collectors really reading your Facebook?
Recently, I read about a woman who worked for a repossession agency that called into a radio station.
She went through a list of tactics that Debt Collectors use to find you, including: finding your address, phone number, workplace, etc. These tactics are common; however, she mentioned something I hadn’t thought of: Facebook.
The woman remarked on how easy it was to find people through their Facebook statuses, as most people are careless about revealing where they are and what they are doing. How often have you posted a status that said something like, “Going to Target to get that new CD!” or “Heading to meet Susie at Joe’s Pub and Grill!” Or just “Checking In” somewhere. With a status as simple as that, you could be leading the Collectors right to you.
This new repossession tactic interested the writer, so he started digging to find out more. In his search, he found an article by Richard Read, The Repo Man Cometh—But Not On Facebook. In this article, Melanie Beacham, of Jacksonville, Florida learned firsthand how devious and malicious repossession companies can be. When Melanie first fell behind on her car loan, her creditors began harassing her. They would attempt to contact her between six and ten times a day via phone, text message, and Facebook.
Beacham says her creditors even tried harassing her family, friends, and neighbors by sending them Facebook messages to try and get to her.
Lucky for her, Florida has strict consumer protection laws that guard borrowers from harassment. The creditors were ordered to stop contacting Beacham, her family, and friends through social networks, particularly Facebook. In a state with looser consumer protection laws, Beacham may not have been so lucky. The threshold for harassment may be higher, which may give creditors more opportunities to track down borrowers in real life and online. With the growing popularity of Facebook, and other social networks, an increasing number of creditors will use them to track down debtors, making it harder to get the time needed to get help.
There are definitely some ways to avoid allowing Collectors into your life through Facebook.
Here are some tips to think about if the repo man is coming after your property.
- Check your Privacy Settings. Put your privacy settings at the highest level. You can go as far as to make yourself unsearchable and prevent your picture from popping up if they do find you.
- Don’t accept any friend requests from people you don’t know.
- Don’t include your last name in your Facebook profile (at least when you’re behind on payments).
This way, if you are tagged in any posts or pictures, Collectors still won’t necessarily know that it is you.
You can change your name to whatever you want on Facebook, but a popular alternative is first and middle name.
- When uploading photos, be selective about which photos are appropriate. You should create filters that only allow friends to see your photo albums.
- Remove yourself from showing up in Google’s search results too. Go to your privacy settings page and uncheck the box under Public Search Listing. This is a Must.!
Ideally, it would be in your best interest to close down your social media sites until you get your debt under control. If not, be sure to take this advice and follow these tips! In fact, in today’s world, these privacy tips apply to Anyone!