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Using Social Media In Collections

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Businesses and collectors have the added challenge of trying to contact customers or debtors who may only use cell phones, have given up their land line phones and that use email, instant messages, …

Businesses and collectors have the added challenge of trying to contact customers or debtors who may only use cell phones, have given up their land line phones and that use email, instant messages, social media websites and text messages as their primary form of communications.

In this e-book, Using Social Media in Collections, the risks, laws, & mistakes you will learn how you can use social media web sites and new technology to maintain a good customer base, keep good paying customers on track, locate, verify, analyze and utilize in order to collect. Learn how these popular social networking websites can help improve your collections and what some of the most common mistakes are when using these social websites and how you can avoid them.


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  • it is necessary to disclose on the lease to own contract the methods and tools used to collects as emails text, mail and telephone?
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    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
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  • I am starting my own business related to collections should i include in the lease to own contract they ways used to communicate with customers as but not limited to mail, texts ad emails?
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    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
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  • do the fdcpa supports the emails, text messages as a collections tool?
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  • Can i use emails and text messages to collect a debt?
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  • 1. Using Social Media in CollectionsPresented by Michelle Dunn
    The Risks, Laws & Mistakes made by collectors
  • 2. Businesses and collectors have the added challenge of trying to  contact customers or debtors who may only use cell phones, have given up their land line phones and that use email, instant messages, social media websites and text messages as their primary form of  communications.
    In this presentation, Using Social Media in Collections, the risks, laws, &  mistakes you will learn how you can use social media web sites and  new technology to maintain a good customer base, keep good paying customers on track, locate, verify, analyze and utilize in order to collect.
    Learn how these popular social networking websites can help  improve your collections and what some of the most common mistakes are when using these social websites and how you can avoid them.
    Technology has changed how we all communicate and do business.
  • 3. Online collection techniques are skills and techniques used by collectors on the internet to locate debtors to try and collect on a debt.
    Just what are online collection techniques?
  • 4. Utilizing social networking sites to gather information and investigate a person’s history requires a lot of work, and even when it is successful, it often will give you only a single chance at getting a payment.
    Finding debtors using social networking websites
  • 5. If a debtor states that this is their preferred way of communication and provides you with their email address, just be sure to keep that information in writing on their file. Also, include the Mini Miranda if you are a third party collector at the end of each email message.
    Email using social networks
  • 6. The Federal Trade Commission feels that if a third party becomes aware of a debt through any method, such as email or instant messaging, the collector is and will be held liable for violating Section 805(b) of the FDCPA.
    Instant messages
  • 7. As a creditor text messages and emails seem to be the preferred and most effective way to increase collections.
    One company I know has experienced a 12 percent lift in communication by using text messages and email.
    It seems that email or a text message as an avenue of communication is perceived as less evasive than a phone call, and your customer has the sense of being in control of when and if they respond.
    Text messages
  • 8. Some collectors advise consumers that ask to be contacted by email that they are not able to accommodate their request by law. If the collection issue is a commercial collection, many collectors will communicate via email since the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply.
    Commercial vs. Consumer debtors
  • 9. Some collection attorney’s or process servers say they have used the pictures people post on FaceBook or MySpace to help them get a physical description of a person so they can serve them with legal paperwork.
    LocatingDebtors using Social Media
  • 10. Facebook
    MySpace
    Twitter
    When you are checking out the profiles of people you are looking for, remember that they may have links on their social networking page to other websites or blogs they participate in that you can gather more information from.
    Popular Social Media Websites
  • 11. Something to remember is that as a debt collector, you may not publicize a debt or discuss it with anyone else other than the debtor, their spouse and/or their attorney, so using a social network to communicate with a debtor would fall into this category.
    Contacting debtors using social networks
  • 12. Dos & Don’ts of using Social media in collections
    Do’s
    Don’ts
    E-learning
    Skip tracing or locating debtors
    Accepting debtor payments
    Researching collection tools, such as software or skip tracing tools
    Credit reporting
    Use database technology to maintain account information on customers that owe you money
    Access consumer payments only with authorization for EACH specific payment or transaction
    Researching place of employment
    Emailing debtors about a debt if you are a third party collector
    Instant messaging a debtor about a debt
    Initiating more payments on a bank account when additional transactions have not been authorized.
    Sending debt collection emails, faxes or text messages
    Don’t send a “friend request” to a debtor on any social networking website
  • 13. Proof of Delivery & Proof of Sale
    Statements & Invoices
    Dunning Notices
    When Congress enacted the FDCPA, it did not limit the methods a debt collector could use to contact a consumer except for prohibiting the use of postcards but this was before any new technology. However, it is important to remember that the FDCPA was enacted to prevent debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive or abusive conduct in using any method to collect a debt. New technology raises questions and issues not considered when the FDCPA was enacted.
     
    The FDCPA applies to third party collectors, business owners should check their specific state laws to see what they can or cannot do. Many state laws mirror the FDCPA laws.
    Debt Verification
  • 14. What you Can & Cannot do
    What you CAN do…
    What you CANNOT do…
    Locate or find someone
    Verify information
    Maintain account information
    Obtain employment or mailing information
    Never converse with a debtor using social media sites, utilizing the email feature or comment feature.
     
    Do not email a debtor about a debt if you think a third party can ever see that email.
     
    Do not instant message a debtor about a debt.
     
    If a debtor doesn’t respond to your email after authorizing you to email them, stop emailing and use traditional methods to try and collect, such as phone calls or letters.
     
    Do not send any communication that could be seen by a third party.
     
    Never “publish” a list of names of debtors anywhere online.
     
    Do not make false reports to a credit bureau.
     
    Do not use a fake name or company name.
     
    Do not request to be added as a “friend” by a debtor on a social networking site
  • 15. These social media websites and networks are tools, just like a credit report is a tool to a collector.
    This information is to be used in order to collect a debt, and not for any other purpose and without contacting the debtor through that medium.
    Think of these sites as another form of verification of the information you already have.
    The risks of using social media as a collection tool
  • 16. The FTC has concluded that major problems exist in the flow of information within the debt collection system and debt collection laws need to be modernized to take into account the changes in technology since the laws were put in place.
    Laws regarding Social Media and Debt Collection
  • 17. When you use a social networking site to locate a debtor mail, there normally won’t be a problem. The problems arise when someone contacts a debtor through one of these social websites. Since the information, messages or conversations on these types of websites is not private and is available to many people to see, this would not be a tool to use in debt collection without violating federal laws specifically applicable to consumer debt collections.
    Better safe than sorry – don’t utilize the email tools on these websites to contact someone who owes money. You can run into legal problems and violate privacy laws.
    Common Mistakes
  • 18. I recently took a poll of the top online methods collectors use as debt collection tools. The top 2 answers were:
    Accepting debtors payments online
    Staying away from using the internet until the laws are changed
    Top Methods
  • 19. Birth date
    Address
    Employment information
    Asset information
    Things you can find posted on social networks that can help you as a collector
  • 20. Everyone is doing it, this is one time when you should follow the pack and participate
    Listen, just like any networking event listen before you “talk”
    Track conversations with keywords, names, company names, executives names and use Google Reader and Google Blog Search (both free) to track them.
    Practice participating in social medias so you understand how they work. Many people, who might be a debtor, spend hours on these websites and know them inside and out.
    Social Media Success Tips
  • 21. It’s a passing fad. Social media is here to stay and growing by the day.
    It is something you can control. Social media is controlled by the users, not the viewers, you can only control your reaction.
    It’s a one time set up. Once you create a profile or join a social media website, you cannot just set up a profile and leave it. You must be active and log into your account. Social media is something you have to work at and keep learning about for it to be effective for you.
    There are no rules. Some people believe they can do and say whatever they want without consequences. Though this may help you as a collector trying to locate debtors or businesses that owe money.
    Social Media Myths
  • 22. Full 120 page February 2009 FTC Workshop Report:
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtcollection/dcwr.pdf
    Where collectors connect…online
    http://www.collectiontechnology.net/
    American Credit & Collections Association Social network
    http://americancreditandcollections.ning.com
    RESOURCES for online collections
  • 23. Online location or skip tracing websites
    Tweepz – online twitter search tool
    http://www.tweepz.com/
    TweepSearch – another online twitter search tool
    http://tweepsearch.com/
    Twellow – and yet another online twitter search tool
    http://www.twellow.com/
    Public Records information
    www.publicrecordsinfo.com
    Public Records Finder
    www.publicrecordfinder.com
    Free Federal Court Dockets
    www.freecourtdockets.com
    Yahoo! People Search
    http://people.yahoo.com
    Find birthdates
    www.birthdatabase.com
     
    Better Business Bureau
    http://welcome.bbb.org
     
    Social Security Number Validator
    www.ssnvalidator.com
    County and ZIP code lookups
    www.usps.com/ncsc/lookups/lookup zip+4.html
    Search for blog posts
    www.whostalkin.com
     
    Search twitter postings
    http://search.twitter.com
     
    Search videos
    www.youtube.com
    www.searchvideo.org
    www.blinkx.com
     
    Find people
    www.zoominfo.com
    www.pipl.com
    www.zabasearch.com
    www.123people.com
    www.isearch.com
  • 24. Skip tracing training: http://www.skiptraceconsultants.com
    American Credit & Collections Associations Collection Academy : http://www.credit-and-collections.com/pages/education.php
    Offering e-courses on Getting your customers to pay and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    Training
  • 25. Find anyone fast, easy to use guide to finding anyone anywhere, 3rd edition by Richard S. Johnson & Debra Johnson Knox, Private Investigators
     
    Naked in Cyberspace, how to find personal information online. The ultimate guide to what you can find out online about anyone. By Carole A. Kane, foreword by Beth Givens, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
    Using Social Media in Collections e-book: http://www.michelledunn.com/shop/catalog.php?item=51
    Online Collection Techniques: Do’s & Don’ts e-book : http://www.michelledunn.com/shop/catalog.php?item=49
    Books
  • 26. Michelle Dunn is an award winning author and columnist. She is the founder and CEO of the American Credit & Collections Association, one of the Top 5 women in Collections, and one of the Top 50 most influential collection professionals in her industry. Michelle has been quoted and featured in The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money Magazine, CNN & other National publications.
    In addition to writing and marketing her books, Michelle is a published columnist for 8 newspapers and national magazines including ‘Entrepreneur.com’ and “FIRST for Women” as well as an Editorial Advisor for “Collector Mentor” magazine and shares valuable credit & debt information with business owners on her blog.
    Strengthen your collections department with the titles in her “Collecting Money Series.”
    Visit www.michelledunn.com and www.credit-and-collections.com
    About Michelle Dunn

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