Could your next Facebook Friend be a debt collector?

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Be careful who you accept as a friend on Facebook. Our Certified Financial Planner, Denisa Tova, is here to tell us who can be posing as your friend but only to get your private information.

Data pix.

More and more debt collectors are using social media to track you down. They set up a fake profile and be-friend you only to get your private information.

In debt? Tips to pay it off and still save.

First of all, you can stop the harassing calls. When you receive your first collection letter, contact them within 30 and request they don’t contact you by phone, texts or emails. This won’t stop them from pursuing the debt collection but it will stop the calls. If you can’t repay it, negotiate and settle. You will take a hit on your credit score but it will stop the collection.

Ok now to how you should conduct yourself on Facebook:

1.    Turn on the privacy settings where your profile is visible only to your friends, not the public.

2.    Accept Friend requests only from those you know.

3.    Use common sense about what you post. There are NO secrets in the cyber space. Think about the treasurers that debt collector can find: your employment history, including your current employer, your email, cell phone and date of births.

Is this practice even legal? And what should you do if catch a debt collector trying to pose as your friend just to get your info?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was set up to protect consumers but with the emergence of the social media, it is trying to figure out how to deal with it. So it doesn't explicitly forbid collectors from, posting on your Facebook wall as long as they don’t talk about your debt.

According to Craig Thor Kimmel, a consumer attorney, if a collector contacts you via a social media site, save those messages. Then report the sender as spam on Facebook and file a grievance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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