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Banks serving people over Facebook new trend in foreclosure

As the country continues to struggle through the recession, many people in Washington, D.C., are feeling the effects. Many jobs have been cut, and people have found themselves up against mountains of debt. Some may have defaulted on mortgage payments and are now facing foreclosure. While banks have traditionally served foreclosure notices to homeowners at their homes, social media is becoming a new outlet for notification.

In 2008, an Australian couple who had defaulted on their mortgage was faced with foreclosure. Their bank sent notices to both of their homes but also sent a notice to one of their Facebook accounts. While this phenomenon hasn't been reported in the U.S. yet, some believe it's only a matter of time before American lenders begin utilizing the social media site.

So far, there have been varying opinions on the issue. Homeowner advocates have expressed deep concern over the use of social media as a tool in the foreclosure process. One activist said that, by using social media to serve foreclosure notices, banks are violating homeowners' right to privacy. She added that this behavior only furthers the perception that banks view homeowners as sources of profit, not real people.

Others, however, disagree. One executive for Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., says he has no qualms about using Facebook in this way. He says the primary objective in these situations is due process, not maintaining privacy. He argues that people need to be made aware if legal action is going to be taken against them.

Despite the executive's arguments, others still contend that there is no reason to use social media in the foreclosure process. One consumer affairs undersecretary said lenders should not have a problem contacting homeowners through traditional methods.

Source: BostonHerald.com, "Backs against the Wall," Thomas Grillo, 13 July 2011

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