If it just so happens that you owe someone money, and suddenly a hot, bikini-clad chick tries to add you on Facebook, you might just want to think twice before you go accepting your new ‘friend’. There’s a very good chance it could well be a trap.
Bloomberg reports that debt collectors have stepped up their game, taking on fake personas and using classic ‘honey-trap’ tactics as a means of contacting those who owe them money.
According to Bloomberg, there’s been a huge increase in recent months of debt collectors creating fake Facebook profiles in order to contact debtors when they can’t do so through more ‘traditional’ means. What’s worse is that the tactic may not be illegal – up until now the issue has been up in the air as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discuss ways in which debt collectors can and cannot contact people using social media as a medium.
The use of this kind of tactic may be questionable, but there’s no denying that it’s effective as far as the debt collectors are concerned. Men, and this may be even more true for those who don’t have much cash, have a natural weakness for hot women and so few are likely to ignore interest from a scantily clad babe when she’s the one to break the ice. But the moment they accept that friend request, they could very well be in for a shock when that hot Facebook babe suddenly turns round as posts “By the way, I’m a debt collector” on their wall.
Some debt collectors have employed even more questionable tactics on Facebook, masquerading themselves as people the debtors know in real life and trying to add them.
Not all debt collectors resort to such lowball methods though. Bloomberg’s report notes that more respectable debt collection agencies tend to ban their employees from going after people through social media – but the problem is that many agencies don’t have any kind of policy against it.
But now at least, they might be forced to do something about it. Earlier this week, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council asked consumers for their opinions on the matter, in particular the use of social media by banks. It’s not clear whether or not this may lead to any kind of action preventing debt collectors from using these tactics, but if they do ban the practice it would cover not just Facebook but also sites like Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Yelp and just about any other social site.
Have any of our readers been contacted by a debt collector on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.