Can Debt Collectors Haunt You Through Social Media?

Can your financial ghouls of the past pay you a visit through social media? Rule changes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices say yes. (We know—as if you needed anybody else trying to slide into your DMs.) 
Effective Nov 30, 2021, debt collectors will have the right to go after you via social media channels. Think of it as a social media séance of sorts (try saying that five times fast), where collectors can attempt to summon your unpaid debts through Facebook or Instagram. And you thought you had it rough trying to secure a bad credit debt consolidation loan. 
Forget thirst traps from a bad ex and get ready for friend requests from ghastly predatory lenders. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about debt collectors haunting you on social media.  
What are the debt collector social media rule changes?  
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law from 1977 that controls how collection agencies and debt collectors can pursue past-due payments. Recent changes that were issued last year modernized these rules. Debt collectors can now basically send an unlimited amount of emails, texts, and social media messages to those who owe them money.  
Many industries are now turning to text, email, and social media because most Americans are hesitant to answer a call from a number they don’t know. As part of the updated rules, debt collectors can send direct messages and friend requests on social media, as long as they state upfront who they are. They are not allowed to communicate on social media in a manner that’s viewable to either the public or the debtor’s friends.  
Are there any protections for debtors against social media harassment?  
The worst part about this is that the protections against this new type of online debt harassment are pretty scant. There is no limit to the number of messages that agencies can send, though they must give instructions on how to opt-out.  
The only other real online protection for those in debt is that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said a collector can get into trouble for sending too many messages, though no concrete number was given. Collectors also can’t call you more than seven times per week per debt.  
Is there any good news from the debt collector social media rule changes?  
Unfortunately, it looks like debtors are the biggest losers here. Sure, one could argue that being in debt/not knowing the full extent of debt can hurt you since your delinquent ways could be reported to the credit reporting agencies or cause you to run afoul of the law. Getting updates from the collectors can help you avoid being in the dark about how much you owe.  
But there’s a clear delineation between being informed and being harassed. Plus, allowing collectors to infiltrate your texts, emails, and social media DMs can make it easy for fraud schemes.  
How to make sure you aren’t the victim of debt fraudsters 
To make sure that you aren’t a victim of debt collection fraud, you should first ask to see any documents related to your money owed, such as the loan agreement. This can help you ensure that the collector is legitimate. And since half of U.S. states require third-party debt collectors to have a license, you should ask for the caller’s licensing info and certify it (if applicable).  
Light the digital sage and start manifesting good vibes. You’re going to need all the help you can get to fight these phantoms. Whether you decide to arm yourself with crystals or a lawyer, the important thing is that you protect yourself against undue harassment. Good luck and may the social media gods be with you.   
Source: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection 
Source: Credello