Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unscrupulous debt collectors use social networking sites to dun, damage reputations of debtors


The latest “abuse” of social networking sites seems to be coming from a few less-than-reputable debt collectors. Liliana Segura of Alternet has a story June 10 “Is your newest Facebook friend a sleazeball debt collector?” here Collectors have posted stories about debts or dunning demands on Myspace and Facebook pages. A blog by Angela Connor, “Online Community Strategist” had taken up this problem on May 6, 2009, with entry here.

I worked for a debt collection company in the summer of 2003, and the company was ethical. They gave us training in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA) and we had to pass a quiz on it with a perfect score before we went onto the floor. The Federal Trade Commission has a convenient PDF copy online here. One of the most important provisions is that debt collectors may not reveal the debt to third parties, and placing information about a debt on a social networking site page certainly would violate that provision. This problem certainly ties in with my ongoing investigation of the problems associated with “online reputation defense.”

It seems bizarre -- and very wrong -- to use one's own "online presence" on the job to besmirch the reputation of others as part of the job.

2 comments:

Angela Connor said...

Thanks for sharing my post, Bill. This is definitely one to watch. if debt collectors will call your neighbors, they will certainly attempt to invade your social networks. I am STILL seeing search terms about this show up daily. Just yesterday I had this term: "Can bill collectors find me on LinkedIn." Now what does that tell us?
Angela Connor | @communitygirl

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