Bill Collectors Targeting Kids' Social Networking Profiles?

from the getting-a-bit-desperate,-eh? dept

We've discussed in the past attempts to serve court documents via Facebook, but apparently others are making use of such tactics as well. A few people alerted us to the story of a bill collector, apparently hired by JPMorgan Chase, who supposedly tracked down the MySpace account of the daughter of someone who was behind on some car loan payments, and posted the debt collection notice on the kids' MySpace page. In the past, people would stop answering the phone or the doorbell to avoid debt collectors. Will they start locking down their social networking profiles as well?


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  1.  
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    TheStuipdOne, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    I'm not very familiar with the laws and ethics of bill collecting, but there has to be something illegal (or at least incredibly immoral) about a bill collector harassing the daughter of someone behing on their payments.

    Won't someone please think of the children and ban bill collectors!!

     

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  2.  
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    Ben, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Crossed the line

    I think you are able to forgive a debt if the debt collector harasses you. I'm not a lawyer, but posting a debt to a public social network certainly could qualify.

     

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  3.  
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    Ronark, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Hardly Surprising

    This is hardly surprising. Debt collection agencies are the scum of the Earth, and cause so much anguish and depression through their tactics of continuous harassment. The people that work for them are the same kind of scum too, to tolerate and participate in such harassment. There is no morality whatsoever with debt collection agencies, so the fact that one is targeting someone's child with harassment seems the next logical step. Pay up or we fuck up your kid's mental health with our constant abuse. These companies are sickening.

     

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  4.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Actually

    I enjoy having a separate prepaid cell number for nothing except the association of cards, bank accounts, etc. I am usually pretty good about paying my bills, but there's something fun about having my vmail message say, "Thank for calling. Please note that you were given this number because I do not ever, ever, ever answer it, and if you do not leave a coherent message in understandable English, you will have zero chance of collecting from me whatever it is I owe you. Cheers."

     

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  5.  
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    WarOtter (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Hardly Surprising

    Not to condone sleazy tactics in anyway, I do have to say that for all their downsides, debt collection agencies are predicated on someone going into debt. For whatever reason, someone didn't pay their bill and continues to not pay. If the debt is in error there are avenues to investigate and take to rectify it. Otherwise, if you are in debt, it would do you well to familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which sets rules and guidelines that the companies must follow, and if they don't, then you can bring legal action against them. AND PAY YOUR BILLS! :P

     

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  6.  
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    Marc, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Outlandish Bill Collectors

    Just got my Free Credit Reports [the legit site]

    Found debts listed that are not mine!

    Can we say found money? Federal and State Statutes provide remedies and I am going after these dufus's. Never received services from these Drs. nor has anyone in my family.

    Googled the Collection Agency and they are up to their eyeballs in Litigation and most have prevailed for the debtor. [
    The actual court awards, as filed with the Court are posted with all the gory details] Awards are in the thousands - some are statuary, others for Attorney Fees and others are for punitive damages. And the same Attorney's are going after the same Collection Agency.

    I am even having collection agencies trying to collect on 20 year, paid off, debts.

    With a little googling and research, finding this maybe a second income for me.

     

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  7.  
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    Bobby McDoogle, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Great innovation! Very creative!

    I think that this guy is just being creative in his efforts to collect some money. I think he should be applauded. Good for him! You go girl!

     

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  8.  
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    Kevin, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    Laws vary by locality

    But in the United States there is a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm

    From the FTC:

    Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?

    If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people – but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.


    It would seem that by publicly posting the notice of the debt they would be contacting potentially millions of people about the debt. Sounds like they have a legal case.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike K, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    Actually, it's illegal for bill collectors to try to shame payees by making their debt public in a lot of areas, not sure if it's national or state-level laws. I'm assuming this is a legal issue that the bill collector will face fines for doing.

     

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  10.  
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    ForTheChildren, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    YES, ITS FOR THE CHILDREN RIGHT!?

     

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  11.  
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    Allen Harkleroad, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    It's a FDCPA violation

    I would say that this would be a gross violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).


    15 U.S.C. § 1692d and 15 U.S.C. § 1692e

    Communication with third parties: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer's spouse or attorney) or threatening such action

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Call an attorney to review

    A cursory review of the available information makes this an interesting case. It appears they are collecting a debt in Illinois, while their registered as a for-profit company in Washington State, and also have a Vancouver, BC phone number.

    A quick search on Washington State's Department of Licensing website indicates that Universal Tracing Services Inc, is not licensed as a debt collector in Washington State. As such, they could be in violation of RCW 19.16 statutes, which allows for treble damages, and possibly also FDCPA. I'm not up to date with RCW 19.16, but WA DOL may be interested in opening an investigation too.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    While all of this information is a great and wonderful thing, has anyone thought about forwarding this info to the individual involved? I mean, unless we know for certain that he reads Tech Dirt on a regular basis.

     

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  14.  
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    Matt (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 3:32pm

    This is actually illegal practices

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that the guy can't do this. Sections § 804. Acquisition of location information, § 805. Communication in connection with debt collection, and more so § 806. Harassment or abuse say that what this guy did violates the act. I think him saying, "Legal options range from having a replevin order served on you or even worse reporting the collateral as stolen to local authorities in Illinois under the A.R.S. act 18-5-504. Failure to comply with this notice of surrender is a class 5 felony and carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for two years plus all applicable surcharges. You must contact the writer within 5 days to prevent this action from taking place." falls under section 806. I had a debt wiped because I was getting harassed about it and eventually the person harassed my ex-wife about it too telling her she would be responsible as well. The harassment and disclosing details to a third party without my consent was what did it. This guy should really look into this more with a lawyer.

     

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  15.  
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    ucb, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Actually

    You're full of it. If you go through that much trouble just for bills, you're either habitually late, and deserve to be harassed, or you're just making this whole thing up about having a pre-paid phone just for bills. Either way, you're full of it.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 4:35pm

    Re: This is actually illegal practices

    Hmm. It appears he's calling into question the existence of a Class 5 felony.

    Court docs:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/14225078/Chase-Collect

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Hardly Surprising

    Agencies have been known to attempt to collect bogus debt from those who do not owe. These bogus charges are initiated in many ways, but the collection agencies do not care and continue to bother people

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Re: Actually

    You're just jealous that you didn't think of it first!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 8:26pm

    think of the children, WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    GoOd GrIeF!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Citibank

    When I was 12 years old, there came a time in which the temptation to explore the more secretive recesses of my younger sister's life became more than I could resist.

    I started by poking around in her room. I ended by reading her diary. In my defense, she kept it right out in the open, right under her mattress. And the little metal clasp on it was simply no match for the paperclip and the screwdriver.

    I was eventually caught, opting my sister to have a lock installed on her door. The only consequence of the invasion of my sister's privacy was the temporary loss of her confidence and self trust.

    The invasion of my privacy led to me to selling my belongings, filing bankruptcy and attempt to start over.

    Privacy, and the safety and security that that word has always implied has with time and technology become an illusion. The National Security Agency has access to all your emails, the world over with it's illegal echelon system.

    Virtually every website you visit installs a delicious cookie onto your computer which is in fact a spy to track your every move.

    There are predators in cyberspace collecting data on your children while they innocently type away in chat rooms, and that little waiver you signed in the Doctor's office most likely allows physicians to share your information on the internet with insurance companies, the Government, your employer, and the courts.

    Make no mistake. Access to your information is easy. All you need is a person's 5-digit zip code, gender and date of birth to uniquely identify 87% of the US population.

    THAT is how vulnerable we are. That is how vulnerable YOU are.

    Third party bill collectors are now moving from first-hand identifiable information to whatever is "kinda a match" to collect on a charged-off debt.

    Personally speaking, this is quite similar to what Citibank did to me. After finding a job that really fit, they didn't foresee that the one I most needed and trusted to take a fucking $15 minimum payment out of my account were the ones who threw me under the bus, and lead me to the bankruptcy situation that they so desired the first time I spoke with them and tried to remedy the debt.

    Citibank made it easy for me to not be a positive influence in society, keep a job, or the like. As easy as looking under a mattress.

     

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  21.  
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    Raybone, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    RE: Citibank....Ive heard that somewhere before...

    Ah yes , I remember. An episode of Boston Legal where Alan Shore mentions in a case closing EVERYTHING you just posted word for word minus the Citibank references. Yes I was a fan of Boston Legal too and agree that many of Alan Shore's(the character played brilliantly by James Spader) closing arguments are a great example of good writing. Should you not at least give credit, Mr. AC, rather than post some TV writers' work as though you thought of it yourself? Hmmm? AC, your comment looks like a good example of plagiarism to me.

    Boston Legal Season 2 Episode 13
    from the transcript: http://www.boston-legal.org/script/BL02x13.pdf


    Alan Shore: "When I was eleven years old there came a
    time when the temptation to explore the more secretive
    recesses of my older sister’s life became more than I
    could resist. I started by poking around in her room. I
    ended by reading her diary. My defense, she kept it
    right out in the open under her the mattress. And the
    little metal clasp on it was simply no match for the
    paperclip and the screwdriver. I was eventually caught,
    prompting
    my sister to have a lock installed on her door. The
    only consequence of the invasion of my sister’s privacy
    was the temporary loss of her confidence and trust. The
    invasion of Jacqui Hayden’s privacy led to her being
    stabbed and left to bleed to death in the street.
    Privacy and the safety and security that word has
    always implied has with time and technology become an
    illusion. A National Security agency has access to all
    our emails the world over with its echelon system.
    Virtually every website you visit installs a delicious
    cookie on to your computer which is in fact a
    spy to track you’re every move. There are predators out
    in cyber space collecting data on your children while
    they innocently type away in chat rooms. And that
    little waiver you’ve signed in the doctor’s office
    mostly likely allows physicians to share your
    information on the internet with insurance companies,
    the government, your employer and the courts. Make no
    mistake; access to your information is easy. All you
    need is a person’s five digit zip code, gender and date
    of birth to uniquely identify eighty-seven percent of
    the US population. That is how vulnerable we are. How
    vulnerable you are. Well Benefits says they could not
    have possibly foreseen the actions of an abusive spouse
    intent on causing his wife harm. Let me tell you what
    Jacqui Hayden could not foresee. That after years of
    cruel and violent debasement at the hands of her
    husband, after she finally found her way out
    of the shadows she didn’t foresee that the people she
    most trusted with her health and well-being would lead
    the darkness right back to her door. And now she’s
    dead. Well Benefits made it easy for Ned Hayden to find
    his wife. As easy as looking under a mattress."

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Re: RE: Citibank....Ive heard that somewhere before...

    Ah. Touche my dear. Touche.

    Your resourcefulness doesn't necessarily mean it didn't fit, actually actually quite possibly, the opposite.

    In fact, it's quite possibly easier to find someone, perhaps within Citibank, to appropriate and appreciate my future works.

    Let me start off with a softball: Does Citibank like privacy? Quite honestly, it seems it doesn't, especially considering it's current ownership percentage by the general US Taxpayer.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2009 @ 6:54pm

    Many problems could probably be resolved by deleting the comment provided above, which I believe is the focus of Mr. Raybone's request.

    Perhaps this is why it was delivered anonymously, without an author.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 1:27am

    Re: RE: Citibank....Ive heard that somewhere before...

    After viewing multiple episodes, it appears that Andrew Kreisberg is probably the original writer of this.

    Fantastic writer.

    It's sad to see him leave after the 2007 season. While I don't understand his production capabilities, if he'd like to meet over lunch and possibly assist in a small story, perhaps he'll find a way.

    I believe Andrew would be in great company.

     

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  25.  
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    bill collector, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Hardly Surprising

    not all bill collectors are scum. in today's world, we need jobs, the agencies are hiring. there are a lot of us that are nice to people that owe debt. i have people every single day that thank me for helping them resolve their outstanding debts and tell me how professional i am. it is ignorant to post such a phrase that "all" people are this or "all" people are that. i can tell you are a debtor yourself. you have to think about it this way, if people weren't so eager to hold so much debt, then when hardships arised like medical problems, job less, etc, they wouldn't have so much debt to worry about. i speak from experience. i was young and stupid in my first marriage and way over did my borrowing and "luxury items". when i lost my job and went through my divorce, it all went down hill...but who's fault was it? the bill collectors or mine? they are just trying to feed their families. some are not very tactful, but we are not all bad

     

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  26.  
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    bill collector, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hardly Surprising

    thats just a plain dumb statement. for real. we as collectors get fowarded information for a debt owed. we verify with the person on the other line what the debt is for, if they dispute/deny/don't know what we are talking about we have to send verification. if they say oh okay ill pay it, its obviously their debt. if a person identifies themself as the person owing the debt and pays it and actually doesn't owe it for some reason, then whos fault is that, duh, theirs. why is it that people don't realize that people that owe money started their own road to problems by taking out credit to begin with. you know if you borrow you will have to repay. people don't relate borrowing from companies like they do borrowing from friends/family....with friends/family they feel guilt...and pay back...with companies, lots of people think "oh well" they can afford the loss, they are a multi billion dollar company, etc. well if they keep loaning to people who all have the same mindset that oh well the company can afford the loss, then where will our companies and the people who work in those companies and their families be. its a cycle...stop over borrowing and reduce the debt. be intelligent...people can live on about 75 % less than what they think they need. there is a difference between needs/wants..figure it out people

     

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  27.  
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    bill collector, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Actually

    okay so he/she is jealous that they didn't think to spend money on buying a prepaid cell phone and having minutes on it solely for the purpose of having a dumb voicemail recording...you should take the money you invested in that and pay some bills or something..thats just dumb. bill collectors could care less if your voicemail is sarcastic/dumb. we hear it all, trust me. and just so ya know, even if you have a phone just for that purpose, if you owe debt, we will find you, it might take a minute but youll be found. if you work/live somewhere/are a citizen with a social security number/have a phone/have neighbors/have friends we will find you

     

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  28.  
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    Steve, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    This puts digital privacy into a different light. I read an interesting article recently on a digital security site I frequent about social networking and security/privacy risks. http://www.justaskgemalto.com/en/search/node/social.

     

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  29.  
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    linda, May 6th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Social networking

    Interesting article, I learned something today

     

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  30.  
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    tamlam, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually

    You make me laugh. I've been hiding from debt collectors for 6 years now & they still can't find me! What a hoot! I owe more than $78,000 & I can't pay it back. I have no landline at all - poor little debt collectors can't call me. I have a prepaid cell phone & no way a DC can trace it to me - since it's prepaid, my name is not linked to the account. No work # either. So, do you still think you can find me? I laugh when I think of all the DCs who can't reach me by phone - must be driving them crazy. ha ha

     

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  31.  
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    tamlam, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually

    I wanted to add something. In a way, I kind of miss getting calls from DCs. Boy, would I have fun w/them. Things I would do to drive them nuts:

    1) Repeat everything they said
    2) Sing theme songs from 70s TV shows like Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, Happy Days & Greatest American Hero
    3) Tell them to hold, then put the phone down & walk away. Eventually go back 30 minutes or 1 hr later & ask if they're still there. Of course, they're still there. They can't disconnect if you don't disconnent. Then say, "Oh, wait one minute!" Keep them hanging for another 30 minutes. This keeps them from making any more calls to anyone else! hee hee
    4) Sing "Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are You?" into the phone
    5) Belch really loud
    6) Sing the ABCs in a screeching, childlike voice
    7) Pretend you know them from high school & engage in a conversation. "How are the kids? How's the wife? Did you ever get that knee operated on?"
    8) Sing "Are you ready for some football?"

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Jim, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Great innovation! Very creative!

    So you're cool with harassing kids eh?

    Tell me, do you get an erection while pulling the wings of of flies too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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