Most of use some form of social media (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn), and most of us are careful about we post. We know our friends, but we don’t know our friend’s friends and any comment we make is easily shared with the wider world. For example, most of us know that it’s not a good idea to post vacation plans because strangers could find out that our home will be vacant and easily burglarized.
What many people don’t know, is that more and more companies are using social media to test your truthfulness in applications or debt repayment promises. They check your posts to confirm, or find a conflict with, what you have written or said. For example, if you’re trying to buy a new car you may write on your application that you are currently employed. Then you may post to a social media website that you’ve been out of work for 3 months. Conflict! Guess what, you won’t get the car loan. Here’s another example: you post photos of yourself from a recent vacation or a night on the town for your friends to see. This gives bill collectors a better picture of your life than you are telling them. They aren’t going to believe that you’re making every effort to repay your debt when you ask them to work out a payment plan.
Credit investigators, bill collectors, government agencies and other professionals are using the power of social media to keep tabs on you, because you are their customer or client. For example, if you’re trying to skip out on a debt, they can use your photos and personal information to track you. In addition, they may have your photo from your profile to be able to recognize you, should the need exist. If nothing else, they have your contact information such as email, phone number, date of birth, relatives, employer information, etc. This gives them much more information than what is required on a credit application.
Bottom line: be aware of what you are posting on social media and think about who is reading your posts. If you are already in a bad situation, sharing too much could make matters worse.