It’s Business, And It’s Personal

Debtors should be aware of possible social media harassment

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Consumer Protection |

For debtors in North Carolina and throughout the United States, attempts on the part of debt collectors to get what is owed can easily cross the line and violate the person’s rights. Although there are legal protections in place, some debt collectors ignore the law. People who are facing extreme debt are frequently overwhelmed and do not know how they will get into a better financial situation. This is compounded by the constant calls, letters and now text messages and social media contact to try and collect on what is owed. Knowing when the law has been broken is a key part of putting a stop to harassment.

Federal regulators put a stop to aggressive debt collection ring

Recently, a group of debt collectors who were using social media to harass debtors were shut down. Located in New York, they used various unethical tactics like contacting debtor’s friends, family and colleagues. It was to try and compel people to pay. These illegal behaviors led to intervention from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other entities. This has gone on for seven years. A lawsuit had been filed about it in 2022 and was recently settled.

The people who owed money were subjected to pressure from the debt collectors calling their family, friends and employers. They used social media to gather the information and called them, claiming they were trying to locate the person who owed money. The pressure was believed to be a strategy to get the debtor to pay to put a stop to the contact.

The CFPB notes that this is illegal and is comparable to extorting the debtor to pay. Debt collectors were said to have called some debtors’ associates multiple times per day. They also asserted that the debtor was a criminal. This too is illegal. Other laws were broken including saying they owed more than they did; threatening them with lawsuits; and claiming that the debtor could face jail time. This and other forms of illegal activity is an ongoing problem with debt collectors.

Debt collectors should not be allowed to violate the law

The CFPB reported that 12% of its complaints in 2021 were related to unscrupulous debt collection making it clear that while this case involved debt collectors in New York, it is ongoing across the nation. People who owe money and are struggling with keeping up with the payments have enough financial and personal anguish to worry about without dealing with debt collection and creditor harassment. For help in holding violators accountable and putting a stop to these aggressive and illegal acts, consulting with experienced professionals is a useful first step.