Debt collectors can now text, email and DM you on social media

Sharing an expert from an NPR article.

The next time someone tries to friend you on Facebook or follow you on Instagram, it could be a debt collector.

New rules approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that took effect on Tuesday dictate how collection agencies can email and text people as well as message them on social media to seek repayment for unpaid debts.

“We are finally leaving 1977 behind and developing a debt collection system that works for consumers and industry in the modern world,” Kraninger said in a blog post.

But consumer advocates say borrowers risk missing key information about their debts or falling prey to illegal scams if they’re contacted online.

“The rules are really disappointing and concerning in a number of ways,” said April Kuehnhoff, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Under the new rules, debt collectors who contact you on social media have to identify themselves as debt collectors but can attempt to join your network by sending you a friend request. Collectors must give you the option to opt out of being contacted online, and any messages they send have to be private — collectors can’t post on your page if it can be seen by your contacts or the public.

Allowing debt collectors to email, text and use social media to contact consumers also gives criminals a new avenue to try to swindle people out of their money, a practice Kuehnhoff expects to increase in the future.