Can Social Networking Sites Help Recover Your Debt?

One of the main questions we ask our clients is what do you know about the debtor and most importantly, the debtors residential address and any assets held by the debtor. 

If you do not know the whereabouts of the debtor, social networking sites may help you locate them.  It is very unlikely that you will be able to locate an exact address, however even the name of the town or city can sometimes help us in locating them for you.  Additional information, for example a date of birth, may also help. 

However, some caution must be exercised.  There is a risk of course that the search engines bring up the details of an individual who is not the debtor.  In addition, there is a risk that you may be criticised by a Judge if it is considered that you are acting unreasonably via such sites. 

In particular, last year Facebook warned debt collectors not to use its service to track down those owing money after a woman in Florida was stalked for non-payment of a car loan. In April this year the judge told the collector to cease and desist. In addition, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning debt collectors not to pursue people who owe them money on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as it is concerned that embarrassing details about their financial problems will be revealed on the internet.  The OFT received a number of complaints from debtors who were being pressurised online to pay off loans.

Therefore, whilst social networking sites can sometimes be helpful in gathering information on your debtor, caution must be exercised.  It is advisable not to chase the debt via such means.