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Collection Agents "Friending" Debtors Online

SOCIAL NETWORKING—U.S.

July 19, 2010

Collection agencies are now using social networking sites to track down debtors, NPR reports, and while they are getting results, the practice is raising legal questions. Gary Nitzkin, a credit collection attorney, explained how debt collectors "friend" debtors online to "get into their inner circle" and if they learn debtors are "boating today--on their new sailboat? Well, guess what? We just found an asset that we can take." According to the FTC, which enforces the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, "collectors must disclose that they are attempting to collect on a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose," but debt collection attorneys believe there is a "gray area" when it comes to social network postings.
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