From Financial Analyst Clyde Anderson:
"This is an effort to collect on a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” Sound familiar? Well, that’s what debt collectors are required to say when they approach you. Now we have to look at that message popping up on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace and even your blog. You've heard about employers using these social media outlets to check out potential employees. Now some debt collectors are also using these same social networking sites to get information on people who owe money. The IRS and debt collectors are scouring social media sites. If you’re cheating on your taxes or trying to escape a debt, the last thing you want to do is bring attention to it online even if you think only your friends are listening.
Why are they using social media as a way to collect debts? Because it’s free, they catch you off guard and also because people usually tell all their personal business on these platforms.
In no way am I an advocate of not paying your bills and being irresponsible, but I believe consumers have a right to know in order to respond accordingly and not be blindsided. So with that said, here are a few tips that I think are just good practices for anyone:
1. Be really careful who you friend
2. Be careful who you accept as a friend
3. Don’t brag about new purchases or your financial situation
4. Tax breaks you may have received
5. Freelance income
What are creditors trying to find?
1. Where you work, (May be able to garnish wages)
2. Get your contact information (to start with the phone calls)
3. How you’re spending your money (is their potential funds for them to collect)
This aids the creditor to get that much closer to collecting their money and closing the file. So remember, what you put online is fair game so don’t post private info such as phone numbers. In the end, if we all take care of our responsibilities, we can use social media without looking over our shoulders.
Look for Clyde Anderson's Home School segments in the 7 o'clock hour of CNN Saturday Morning with TJ Holmes.