22 May Trying To Avoid Debt Collectors? Avoid Social Media.
Avoiding debt collectors is like trying to avoid the wind. Somehow your hair always ends up frazzled. But you are not making it easy for yourself if you use Facebook, MySpace, or other social media.
As bankruptcy lawyers, we rarely recommend the “stick your head in the sand” approach to problem solving. Since it doesn’t… solve …problems. But sometimes we do suggest you not file immediately, for various reasons. If the debt collectors have not located you recently — called skip-tracing in professional circles — why are you making their life easy updating your Facebook status?
Social media has become a standard — free — tool in searching for people. If you are regularly active on social media sites, you are already know this. So do debt collectors. Checking social media sites, Google, and on-line White Pages for your latest contact information is what they do while their morning coffee is cooling down.
Indeed, living a connected world makes it harder than ever to avoid the persistent hounding of creditor calls. We bankruptcy lawyers are used to folks saying, “I don’t know how they found me…” and then finding you all over the Internet.
Even if you have not updated your status and your new contact information is double-plus secret now, as long as someone else knows it, you might have a problem. Did you move and leave your new number for the neighbors? Or give it to your mother just in case? Debt collectors can lawfully contact third-parties to get location information — if they can’t find you. Your friends, family and former neighbors don’t have to give you up — but they probably will. Especially if the caller is non-threatening and even pleasant and just trying to find an old friend.
In reality, it is becoming harder than ever to hide from creditors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Confronting debt and either finding a reasonable way to repay or admitting the problem is too large to solve — and seriously considering bankruptcy so you can begin a fresh start — is usually a better option.
Sometimes a debt collector is doing you a favor by forcing you to stop avoiding a problem that won’t go away. (But if they step out of line, you should still consider suing them!)
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