Chicago — Debt collectors in the United States can now use direct messages on social media to contact those who owe them thanks to changes to a 1977 law that went into effect Nov. 30.
The changes to the more than 40 years old Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which has governed how bill collectors contact those delinquent on payments, provides guidelines on how agencies can now use email, text and social media, according to Business Insider.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced changes to the act on Oct. 20. Kathleen Kraninger, the agency’s director at the time, said the changes are part of an effort to leave “1977 behind” and to develop “a debt collection system that works for consumers and industry in the modern world.”
There are, however, limitations for the collectors. They are barred from posting publicly on somebody’s social media page or in their comments, they must immediately identify themselves and cannot send a friend request without telling the debtor who they are and why they’re reaching out.
Additionally, collectors must give debtees the option to opt out of receiving messages on the respective social media platform.