Towards the end of 2021, changes in rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) were enacted to allow third-party debt collectors to pursue delinquent balances through email, texts, and social media accounts. Collection agencies hailed the decision as it provides a less costly way to contact more debtors.
As with any new online “innovation,” scams see a significant uptick as it is easy to hide behind a fake email address or bogus Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter users. These impersonators are chomping at the bit to steal money, claiming past-due debts that don’t exist.
While falling for a scam can happen to anyone in any age group, millennials that account for a large portion of social media enthusiasts can become easy targets to fraudsters. Knowing the signs of potential criminal behavior can keep hard-earned money where it belongs.
- Debt collectors who fully disclose their reason for friending you are working within the law. Scammers have no problem violating the FDCPA when they publicize collection efforts to friends and family. All messages regarding delinquent accounts must be private.
- Legitimate collectors know their legal obligations to share specific debt details via a “validation notice” as part of their first contact or reach out within five days. Data provided includes the creditor’s name and specific information about your rights. Lacking specifics could be a sign of a scam.
- Collection agencies working within the law know that threats and harassments rife with profanity are both poor tools of the trade and a violation of the FDCPA.
The worldwide pandemic had not only health consequences but also financial backlashes. People with the most stable finances with enviable credit scores found themselves falling behind. Those who struggle with making ends meet are easy targets of debt collection scams.
Being vigilant can prevent an already bad situation from becoming worse.