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Avoid Creditors' Abuse on Social Media

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in every part of our lives. Now, debt collectors are using social networking sites such as Facebook to circumvent federal laws that limit their ability to contact borrowers. No formal regulations exist to protect borrowers from social media abuse by lenders, a situation that can cause great emotional distress for people seeking debt relief.

Creditors are using Facebook to track down borrowers. Debt collectors may go so far as to create false profiles, attempting to "friend" their borrowers in an attempt to contact them. These agencies can find out a significant amount of information about their borrowers through Facebook, including their relationship status, friends' names and job. Hometown information, hobbies and "likes" can also be obtained through these profiles.

People who are going through debt relief procedures should realize that they can take precautions to protect themselves from creditor harassment. First, remember that strangers online are never your friends. Never accept a friend request from someone you do not know; they could be spammers or debt collectors.

Also, you should avoid giving out too much information about your personal preferences and business online. Do not list your birthday or phone number. That way, the creditors cannot confirm your identity simply by looking at your name. If you owe debts, you could be handing over your new cell phone number to your creditors without ever recognizing your actions.

Ultimately, people who share too much personal information on their profiles are susceptible to being tracked down by creditors. Share minimal information on your profile, including your location. Honesty is also a virtue on your Facebook profile. Do not post information about new speedboats or other luxurious purchases you may have made while attempting to convince your creditors that you have no money.

Following these few simple tips could protect your online profile from the prying eyes of creditors, allowing existing federal laws to protect you as much as possible.

Source: The Leader, "How to avoid debt collectors on Facebook," Bill Bartmann, March 26, 2013

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