September 29th, 2012
Social media is one of the fastest growing trends to be experienced within the last ten years. From Facebook to Twitter to Google or LinkedIn, social media has revolutionized our daily lives- but because everything is now out there for the world to see, individuals can face some, frequently unforeseen, results.
If you are going through a bankruptcy filing, your recently posted photos of your cruise to Mexico can send a mixed message. If you boast about your new job as a sales executive, this could endanger your claim (this income could be recalculated into your monthly income and shove you above the Means Test pressuring you to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and pay back a part of your debts to your creditors). Or if you plaster a picture of you on your Harley Davidson, when you failed to list your bike as an asset, you could be in trouble. When public, incriminating evidence is posted online, it is not unusual for a bankruptcy trustee to show this evidence against you in court. Keep in mind that a bankruptcy trustee could access your social media sites to determine any of the following information:
* Whether all of your assets have been listed
* Whether your situation has changed
* Whether you actually listed your income (if you got a raise or began a new entrepreneurial venture, it could cause you to land back in bankruptcy court and have your income, assets and debts reconsidered)
* Whether you listed all of your job positions
* Whether you have lately engaged in luxury spending (luxury spending on your credit card or debts incurred in anticipation of bankruptcy are often nondischargeable)
Even if your account is set to private, social media information can be subpoenaed. A bankruptcy trustee could even see your “unprofessional” perspective about your bankruptcy filing and you could face following fees.
Also, debt collectors can also obtain your sites and get your most recent contact information, making it harder for you to avoid their barrage of calls. In the words of Bankrate, “Social media has become a crucial tool for collection agencies attempting to track down debtors, says Michelle Dunn, CEO of the American Credit and Collections Association… Many bill collectors who think they have found a debtor on a social media site will keep an eye on that person’s on-line presence… privacy laws should preclude a collections professional from contacting and humiliating you on your social media page. However, some debt collectors break those legal and ethical boundaries and assume false identities as a means of getting information.”
Social Media experts are partnering up with debt collectors in order to help them collect debt.