Stranger Danger took on a new meaning on November 30, 2021. Now, debt collectors can text you, email you and maybe even slide into your DMs if you let them. So, please do not accept random friend requests any longer, and please clean up that friends list because the debt collectors knew about the new rules for months prior to the rules going into effect, and they had time to get ahead of the game. If you don’t think that the debt collectors took advantage of this, you are as naïve as the CFPB.
As an attorney who regularly sues debt collectors in State and Federal Court for abusive debt collection practices, I think these new rules are going to be abused by the debt collection industry until people realize what the debt collectors can and cannot do legally..
The new rules apply to third debt collectors only, not to creditors who are collecting their own debts, so be careful on that point. There is a difference. For example: If big bank calls you and is trying to collect on an overdue Visa bill, the FDCPA doesn’t apply. But, if big bank turns the account over to Dirt Bag Debt Collections, Inc. The debt collection company is subject to the FDCPA and the new rues under Regulation F.
Under the new rules, a debt collector can send you a friend request to try and join your network, but, they have to identify themselves as a debt collector. Likewise, they have to give you the option of opting out of being contacted online. All of their messages must be private, which means they cannot post anything about your debts on a public page.
The debt collection industry is loving the new rules. It makes it so much easier for the debt collectors to “reach out and touch someone”. Now, they don’t even have to call, they can just send an email. If there hasn’t been software created yet that will allow them to send out hundreds of thousands of emails per day, I’m sure it’s not far away.
Let’s look at the reality of the situation. Rather than requiring consumers to opt into receiving electronic communications, consumers now have to opt out. That seems rather bizarre. We are going to allow someone to harass you on your phone, email and/or social media apps first, but you can stop it if you opt out. What happens to people who are not tethered to their phones or use email occasionally?
I’m sure this won’t lead to any scams at all. Once again, we have a governmental body looking out for and legislating on behalf of the people that they swore to protect and the people that pay their salaries. I’m willing to bet the Nigerians are gearing up with a new set of emails and texts telling me that I just won their lottery and all I need to do is to send them my bank account information for a huge deposit. I can’t see this being abused at all. Can You?
What is going to happen to all of those seniors who get an email telling them to click here, and they do.
These new rules have just cleared my writer’s block, and I will have more content than I could have ever dreamed of coming in 2022.