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Idaho: Debt collectors can now use text, email, social media | Local | #phishing | #scams | #hacking | #aihp



The Idaho Department of Finance is warning the public that debt collectors are now allowed to communicate with consumers through social media, text and email.

This change is part of a new rule under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, according to a state news release. It’s the first update to this act in more than 40 years.

“Although some consumers may prefer to communicate through more modern channels, others may encounter difficulty distinguishing between a legitimate and a fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized collection attempt,” the news release said.

Debt collectors contacting people via social media are required to clearly identify themselves, only send private messages that are not publicly visible to other people and offer an opt-out option for receiving further messages.

A debt collector is restricted to placing seven outbound calls within seven days per account in collection. Calls which go to voicemail are considered contact by phone.

To avoid falling for a collection scam, the Department of Finance advises people to scrutinize any debt collection communication they receive, avoid clicking on unknown links and never disclose private personal or financial information to unknown entities.

People can check if a third-party debt collector is licensed to do business in Idaho by visiting finance.idaho.gov. People can file a complaint on the department website if they are solicited by an unlicensed debt collector.

People can confirm the debt is legitimate by requesting debt validation documents.

Scams through phone, email or text are common and Moscow Police Capt. Anthony Dahlinger provided additional tips for people to follow.

He said a common scam involves a person pretending to be a law enforcement officer and claiming that the individual has a warrant and needs to pay the police money. Dahlinger said law enforcement officers never ask for money from an individual. If a person did have a warrant, the police would simply just arrest them, he said.

He said any message that asks people to send gift cards, such as Amazon cards, is always illegitimate.

“That’s a guaranteed scam,” he said.

When in doubt, Dahlinger said, people can call the actual company or law enforcement agency the message claims to be from and verify whether the message is valid.

He said anybody who feels they are a victim of a scam should call the police and make a report.

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