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Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites have profoundly changed the way many Americans share information about their lives. But does that mean that it's fair game for debt collectors to contact debtors on those websites?

The answer is essentially no. But federal regulators realize they need to do more to prevent debt collectors from going after people who just want to update a Facebook status or view a Twitter feed.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is still a fairly new agency. But its director has pledged to use the authority granted to the agency by Congress to go after "bad actors" who clearly violate restrictions on debt collection tactics.

Stronger enforcement of fair debt collection laws will potentially affect numerous people in the San Antonio area, throughout Texas and nationwide. According to the CFPB, about 30 million Americans are facing collection activity. That is roughly one in every 10 people in the country.

Clearly, then, the need for debt relief is widespread. And on average, the amount of the accounts in collection is an average of around $1,500.

The stronger federal role in protecting consumers from improper debt collection tactics should help clean up what is often a very messy process. Too often in the past, the Federal Trade Commission has merely logged consumer complaints without taking effective action against debt collectors who violate the rules. That should change under the CFPB.

Keep in mind, however, that the federal role only goes so far. For people who are in need of debt relief, a consumer bankruptcy filing can offer a genuine path toward a financial fresh start. If you quality, this means more than merely keeping debt collectors at bay. It means, rather, a chance to take control of your financial future.

Source: "Debt collectors are going after people on social media," The Buffalo News, Carter Dougherty, 1-28-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in the San Antonio area and elsewhere in Texas. To learn more about our practice, please visit our consumer bankruptcy page.

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