Creditors Turn to Facebook for Payments - 8 News NOW

Creditors Turn to Facebook for Payments

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LAS VEGAS -- Social media websites like Facebook are offering creditors a new way to find a person who is behind on payments.

"I've been late on my car payment before," says Valisa Valdois. She says she gets "harassing" phone calls from collectors. "They will call, and call, and call until you do actually answer."

Attorney Regina McConnell represents collection agencies in court. She tells 8 News Now, finding people on Facebook is the latest trend. It begins by companies posing as an attractive person.

"That's false and misleading," McConnell said. "And, that can make the person say, 'oh yeah, I want to become friends with them.'"

"It's a good trick by creditors," said consumer Attorney Jeffrey Cogan. "If you accept that friend request, you've opened up a whole bag of information to that collection agent."

The information you allow your friends on Facebook to see will be visible by the collection agency:

  • Your Address
  • Where You Work
  • Pictures of Purchases You Haven't Paid For

"It doesn't cost them anything, but five minutes on their computer," said Cogan.

Valdois now works for a collection agency, but says she won't participate in the Facebook fad. "I just don't like lying to people," Valdois said.

"We're prohibited from using any false or deceptive means in terms of trying to obtain information," said McConnell.

But, it is perfectly legal. Creditors may have found a loophole in the law that normally protects people from situations like this. The problem is within the context of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was put into place in the 1970's, before social media. It was most recently amended in 2006.

"They are doing what they need to do to get their money," said Valdois.

For More Information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act click here.

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