Debt Collectors Using Facebook and Social Media Must Follow the Law

Mar 10, 2011, 13:30 ET from ACA International

MINNEAPOLIS, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Internet and social networking have opened doors to connecting people in ways never before imagined.

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Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn can be venues for locating individuals not found through phone directories and other resources. "Debt collectors can use these tools to try to locate consumers who owe debts, but they cannot harass consumers and must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state laws or be held accountable for their actions," said ACA General Counsel and Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Valerie Hayes.

The FDCPA outlines that when trying to locate a consumer by any method, including through social networking sites, debt collectors cannot disclose to a third party that a person owes a debt. Nor can the debt collector make any false, deceptive or misleading representations on those sites in an effort to collect a debt from a consumer.

"Consumers do have important rights when working with a debt collector, which is why we created AskDoctorDebt.com as a valuable consumer-focused educational resource on debt collection," said ACA Interim Chief Executive Officer Ted Smith. "With the multitude of scams and misleading or false information easily available at the click of a mouse, the aim of AskDoctorDebt.com is to provide consumers with a tool they can trust without fear of gimmicks or being ripped off."

A project of the non-profit ACA International Education Foundation, AskDoctorDebt.com is available in both English and Spanish. Visitors are not asked to register, provide any personal information or required to pay to use AskDoctorDebt.com.  

"The best advice for consumers if they are contacted by a debt collector is to communicate with the collector to verify the debt and resolve the situation," said Smith.

ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, is the comprehensive, knowledge–based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together more than 5,000 members worldwide, including third–party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA International establishes ethical standards, produces a wide variety of products, services and publications, and articulates the value of the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers. For more information about ACA International, visit www.acainternational.org

Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director

Tel. (952) 259-2124 or Schiffman@acainternational.org

SOURCE ACA International



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