Sunday, December 12, 2010

You Can Run But You Can't Hide From Your Debt

With the advancements in technology many debt collectors and some state taxing authorities are searching for consumers on the internet use social media networks such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other sites to find unsuspecting consumers to pay debts. This seems unethical and illegal but it is legal.

According to the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act, debt collectors can contact your family and friends to find your location or get other personal information such as your address, email address or phone number. If you posted your contact information including your current employers on your social media profile you may soon be getting emails or phone calls from your debt collectors. What if a debt collector contacted someone who is listed as a friend on your social media profile?

If you love to use social media networks and are in debt you increase your chances of debt collectors finding you. The IRS has not confirmed whether they use social media networks to find those who owe back taxes but I suspect they do. The good news is that tax agents cannot friend a consumer who owes back taxes on a social media site but that probably doesn’t stop all tax collectors from doing it. Here are some ways you can be found on the internet:

1. Motor vehicle records
2. Employment records
3. Tax records
4. Bank records
5. Public inquiries at local businesses such as groceries stories, barbershops, church meetings, social and civic meetings, etc.
6. Internet search engines
7. Chat rooms and forums

If you owe debt and have not been contacted yet or have not paid your debt, contact the debt collector immediately to setup a payment plan or request a financial hardship and follow-up with a letter confirming the agreement. It is better in the long run if you contact them before they contact you.

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