Facebook Debt Collections

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Debt collectors can be relentless and downright rude on the phone, but now a Florida woman is filing suit, alleging the company that financed her car loan began harassing family members over the social networking website Facebook.

Melanie Beacham says she fell behind on her car payment after getting sick and taking a medical leave from work.

She contacted MarkOne Financial to explain the situation but says the harassing phone calls, as many as 20 per day, kept coming. Then one day she got a call from her sister saying the company contacted her in Georgia.

"I was telling her, 'No way, because you're not even a reference,'" said Beacham, who later found out MarkOne contacted her sister and other relatives via Facebook.

Beacham says the company claimed they were doing nothing wrong but, upset over what happened, she contacted Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan.

"Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use," says Howard.

He believes Facebook will soon become a regular method for contact if nothing is done.

"It's getting the desired result, and that is to start a domino effect of panic and embarrassment among family and friends, and people will do anything to stop that."

Howard has now filed a first of its kind lawsuit against MarkOne asking a judge to ban the company from using Facebook and other social networking websites to contact friends and family members over a debt.

10 News was unable to reach MarkOne Financial for comment Monday regarding the suit filed in Pinellas County.

Beacham hopes the lawsuit will keep debt collectors from exploiting consumers on Facebook.

"Nobody should have to go through what I went through," said Beacham. "I was hurt because I just felt I didn't need my family going through that."

Facebook is also one of websites attorneys in divorce and family issues are looking to help their cases

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My first instinct is to say that this is a clear violation of 15 USC 1692(B), but the author seems to be confused (as usual). The author states "debt collector", but the first line of the story says "the company that financed her car loan". So it is quite possibly the creditor itself- outside the scope of FDCPA.

Off topic, but I've used facebook a few times to track what a potential defendant was up to. People are such fools. In more than one case they posted just what I was looking for and their friends even commented. It is lunacy.

Edited by jq26
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lol. You'd be bored to tears anyway. My last post was from Halloween 2009.

Example: one business client of mine was being undercut by an illegal business in his area. This illegal business' owner posted on facebook "hey guys, come to my illegal business at xxxxx location. Call this #xxx-xxxx." :lol:

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If you are dumb enough to post true info on facebook and they are smart enough to find kit, then what do you expect?

The solution is to have two different Facebook accounts - one under your real name with all fictitious information and contacts (I list all 100 US Senators on mine) and the other under the nickname everyone knows you as (and if you don't have one, GET ONE) with your real information.

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I will never understand why people post extremely personal stuff for the world to see.

Do people really think Bill Collectors won't search for you on Facebook? Heck ya they will. It requires no effort on their part to find out "ALL" about you....and your family...and your friends....and your job.

I don't even trust the privacy settings. My daughter said there are programs that will decode a private facebook page. ??? I dunno know about that....but I assume it is true.

My facebook is all about football. So if a bill collector looks at mine all he is going to think "dang, she likes the Saints" haha

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Saints eh? My hawks are coming down your way sunday. Care to take a guess on how we'll do? ;)

haha...Probably not to bad. Hawks are ranked #1 in West division. Saints are #2 in their division behind Falcons. Should be a good game.

I assure you there are far better databases than facebook to find consumer info.

True Dr. Evil. But like flyingifr said it's free. And most people post everything on there. Plus their family and friends are usually on there. I would say that it would be pretty hard for a collector to know who your brother or sister was if you didn't list them as a reference....but checking facebook, you could find that information pretty easy.

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