by Ayvaunn Penn, YourBlackWorld.com
People these days have no qualms about walking around naked — even in front of strangers. If you beg to differ, naked is what you might as well be when you strip yourself of all of your privacy via the internet — the latest fashion these days. Privacy is so last season, but I promise you will want to think twice before jumping on this bandwagon. If you go stripping yourself before the world, debt collectors are also gazing at you through your WWW window. That’s right! Debt collectors are now using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to follow people who owe them the bucks and see what they’re up to.
This probably makes those of you in debt want to take down those status updates that read something like “Just got a new iPhone!” and “At the Galleria with Billy and Joe shoppin’ it up.” If this is so, good. That is one of the steps you can take to protect yourself from disguised debt collectors who want to be your friend. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox of The Grio makes the following suggestions:
1. Don’t ‘Bling, Bling’ If You Claim to Be Broke
… it makes it far less likely that they’ll believe your claims of being broke.
2. Stop Revealing TMI — About You and Family
…when you do it online, and debt collectors are trying to find you, it’s like you’ve left them a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to your door.
3. Know Your Rights
…Bill collectors are not permitted to harass, threaten, intimidate or try to embarrass you into paying a debt. If they do any of these things, they are violating the FDCPA.
4. Complain About Abusive Practices
…If a debt collector harasses you, threatens you or otherwise breaks the FDCPA or your state laws, don’t hesitate to report them to authorities immediately.
The most beneficial thing you can do to protect yourself from unwanted social network stalkers, however, is BE DEBT FREE. No, it does not happen overnight, but seek professional financial counseling on how to loose yourself from the grips of debt.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer degreed in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, email submissions to ayvaunnpennspokenword at gmail dot com.