Are You Hiding in Plain Sight?


In 1977 Marvin Gaye was rocking “Got to Give It Up,” Stevie Wonder was “Sir Duke,” The Commodores were either “Easy” or in a “Brick House,” the Bee Gees were “Stayin’ Alive,” George Benson was signing about “The Greatest Love of All,” and then the mini TV Series – “Roots” hit our screens. This was a big year in society, culture, but also financial legislation. It was also in 1977 that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed. This Act prohibited harassment and abuse, false and misleading representation, and unfair practices by debt collectors when collecting debt.

On October 30, 2020 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued revised rules governing debt collector’s behavior and how you can defend yourself. There were several rule changes made by CFPB. I have only identified two below. One change for example, is that debt collectors are no longer limited to telephone calls, but can now contact you through emails, text messages, and yes, you guessed it, social media. So before you send out your next tweet, stream your next Instagram or facebook live think about whether or not your debt collectors can find you. You just might be hiding in plain sight.

How to Reach Me

The new rules require debt collectors who communicate electronically with you. They are to offer you a reasonable and simplified method of opting out from such communication at a specific email address or telephone number. Additionally, this rule also provides that you may, if the debt collector communicates through a medium of electronic communications, use that medium of electronic communications to place a cease communication request, or to notify the debt collector that you refuse to pay the debt.

Don’t Stress Me

One of the changes in the new rules establishes a limit on the number of calls a debt collector can place when reaching a consumer on a weekly basis. A debt collector is presumed to violate federal law if the debt collector calls to collect the debt more than seven times within consecutive days, or within seven consecutive days of having a telephone conversation about the debt.

The way I see it, one of the morals of the story is be careful how you engage online because you just might be hiding in plain sight!

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