Christmas isn't the only way we could fall into debt. There are actually a number of different reasons why people get in the hole and now there are a number of new ways debt collectors can contact you.

In the past you may have received calls and letters in the mail looking to collect a debt. That will continue but starting immediately you may also get emails, texts and even direct messages on your social media accounts from debt collectors.

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According to Business Insider, these are federal rules that took effect in late November that allow debt collectors text and email New Yorkers as well as send you direct messages on Instagram and Twitter and you might even get a friend request from a debt collector on Facebook!

Apparently, Federal officials felt it was time to update the rules to collecting debt as institutions have been working with standards that have been in place and unchanged since 1977. Not everyone agrees.

Contacting borrowers on social media is very invasive, beyond just catching up with the technology that we have now. I think it could encourage misconduct by allowing debt collectors to seek out people’s private social media accounts. - Andrea Bopp Stark - National Consumer Law Center

It's not exactly open season for collectors however. There are certain rules they need to play by and you do have rights.

  • Collectors are required to identify themselves as debt collectors
  • Collectors must give you the option to opt out of being contacted online
  • Collectors must give the option to opt out if they text or email
  • Collectors are only allowed to call you once per day.
  • Phone calls that go straight to voicemail are counted as one of the seven calls

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