A new rule will soon allow debt collection messages through social media. It’s expected to impact 1 in 4 adult Americans, or 70 million people, who have at least one bill in collections.
On top of phone calls, emails, and text messages, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will allow debt collectors to message you through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and almost any other social media channel.
The new rule also loosens the restrictions on how often creditors can contact you. You could receive unlimited texts and social media messages unless you take action to stop them.
If all this sounds extremely annoying, you’re absolutely right. Here’s what you need to know about the CFPB rule change and its potential impact on your life.
Why Did They Change the Rules for Debt Collection Messages?
The CFPB says the new rules better reflect modern communication and will ultimately be a win for consumers. Although debt collectors can contact debtors in new ways, people can also opt-out of being contacted entirely.
Or at least that’s the plan. So far, there’s no mechanism to opt-out and the CFPB is still working on that part of the process.
Here’s what the new CFPB rules will allow:
- Up to seven phone calls per week, plus more under some circumstances
- Unlimited emails
- Unlimited text messages
- Unlimited private social media messages/chats/posts
Will Creditors Really Contact Me On Social Media?
Debt collection agencies can’t wait for the new rules to go into effect later this year. Many debt collectors already push the boundaries of what’s allowed, contacting people relentlessly and sometimes violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
So far, social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have no comment about the CFPB rule change. Will they do anything to prevent their users from being barraged with messages? Who knows.
Even if a debt collector hasn’t contacted you on social media yet, they could be looking up your profile to find ammunition to use against you. It’s well known that debt collectors, lawyers, the IRS, and the Social Security Administration look people up on social media during investigations.
They might flip through your photos to see if you’re taking vacations or scan through your posts to see if you’re buying new things. Social media channels are also full of scammers, so be cautious about anyone who demands money.
It’s your right to request mailed verification of any debt before making a payment. While it’s illegal for creditors to lie about your debt or misrepresent who they are, some of them still do it.
Stop Debt Collection Efforts with Bankruptcy
As you can see, this is just the latest way debt collectors are trying to pressure people into sending payments. But here’s some good news: You can stop debt collection messages once and for all.
Bankruptcy triggers something known as an automatic stay, which prevents debt collectors from continuing to contact you under penalty of law. When the new CFPB rules go into effect, bankruptcy could be the best way to stop creditor harassment.
Contact a bankruptcy attorney to learn how to protect yourself from endless creditor calls and messages. At Sawin & Shea, we offer a free consultation to get the process moving quickly.
Sawin & Shea—Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys
Filing for bankruptcy is not the end. It’s the beginning of a new financial life for you. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea can help you get rid of overwhelming debt and advise you on life after bankruptcy. We are here for you during this life-changing process.
Please do not hesitate to call us today at (317) 759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.