Facebook is so popular these days that just about everyone has their own lil profile… but the next time you update your status, your “friends” may not be the only ones watching!
While you’re posting photos of your brand new Porsche or of you and your friends popping bottles in the club, consider who’s keeping track of that information.
What if one of your new Facebook “friends” started posting reminders on your wall that you should pay your bills? Would you cuss them out and keep it moving?
OK… How about a debt collector contacted your family members’ via Facebook asking them to deliver you a message? Or perhaps hit up one of your former classmates inquiring about you?
One company did just that and is now suffering from legal issues!
Mark One Financial LLC of Jacksonville, Florida tried to contact one of their debtors by sending messages to both her and her family members on Facebook. They left several messages via Facebook asking to have her call the agency about the debt.
The woman, Melanie Beacham, apparently owed the company $362 on an unpaid car loan and the collection agency “friended” her on Facebook and collected information about her friends and family.
“I was shocked when I found out these collectors used Facebook to contact my family because they knew exactly where I was,” Beacham, 34, told the Associated Press. “I’m angry they caused me so much embarrassment with my family.”
Beacham subsequently filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that it was an invasion of privacy for them to stalk her on the popular social network and says the company violated part of Florida consumer protection law barring debt collectors from harassing people.
The lawsuit claimed that Mark One contacted Beacham six to 10 times a day by phone, sent her a text message, contacted her neighbor and sent a courier to deliver a letter to her workplace. Beacham’s attorney asked a judge to prohibit Mark One from contacting her or her family through Facebook or Twitter.
A Florida judge agreed and the company’s debt collection efforts have been shut down. Judge W. Douglas Baird has ordered Mark One Financial LLC of Jacksonville, Florida not to use Facebook or any other social media site to collect the debt. The judge also says the company can’t contact the woman’s family or friends on Facebook.
Mark One declined to discuss Beacham’s case and denied any wrongdoing. In a statment MarkOne said its collectors use Facebook to find people when they don’t respond to phone calls, letters or other means.
What would you do if a debt collector contacted you via Facebook and/or Twitter?