Are you a bank debtor in a cash-strapped country and owner of several accounts on social media? News is bad, my friend. The banks are after you with new methods to prove whether your claim “I have no money” is true or not. They will screen your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all possible accounts you have on social media networks because you have stupidly made a lot of posts and foolishly uploaded a lot of pictures of your assets and expensive activities. Or was it just a show off?
Proto Thema reports of a recent meeting organized by the company dealing with the banks’ red loans, Invited were representatives of debt collector companies. The PQH Single Special Liquidation presented a new concept and told debt collectors how they can retrieve the money broke or not broke debtors own to banks.
Pressure and bulling via phone calls? It’s outdated.
“Forget phone calls. Go screen debtors’ accounts on Facebook,” is the advise the CEO of PQH reportedly told representatives of 17 debt collector companies, call centers and lawyers’ offices dealing with such issues.
The general idea behind the new concept is that nowadays debtors keep on posting on Facebook and other social media quirky shots and selfies from various activities that they imply that they do indeed have money but they just do not pay their loans back.
A shot of your friends in your swimming pool? A romantic weekend in Paris? A picture of your child on a horse back or on board of a sailing yacht – and even worse: at the year feast of an expensive private school?
A Sweet 16 Birthday celebration or a modest wedding party or a school reunion can produce hundreds of pictures that will be uploaded on social media by various people attending the event.
The picture of a car, a summer house or a painting uploaded on social media can turn into a trap for the debtor – independently of what he declares to the tax office or claims at court.
The debt collector will no longer ask “When will you pay?”
Having collected information from the debtor’s social media account and/or from the accounts of his friends, relatives and children, he will ask “Every night you check-in in expensive restaurants but you claim you cannot pay your loan back? Are you in Paris right now? Where do you find the money to spend every weekend in Arachova (expensive resort)? Was the boat you posted last summer not yours?”
At the meeting on July 11th, PQH SEO Kostas Mitropoulos urged debt collectors:
“Close down call centers, open social media shops.”
According to media report, more than two million debtors and guarantors own some 100 billion euros to 16 banks. The new concept to retrieve the money comes just before the legislation for “out of court settlement.” The banks do not want to be obliged to write-off debts, therefore they will do everything they can to verify that the debtor is indeed unable to repay his mortgage, consumer or business loan.
Half of the 100 billion euros is owed by 50,000-60,000 companies. The other half are households’ loans with the lion’s share to be mortgages for one million properties.
Cooperation with assets’ tracers outside Greece is just a matter of time.
The practice of debt collectors using Facebook and other social media to trace debtors’ real financial situation is not new. They often create fake accounts and become friends and followers. Of course, a Facebook user can change privacy settings, so that his posts are not shown to people he does not know. There are reports that they also harassed debtors by relaying messages to debtors through friends, family, and colleagues. In UK an Act banned debt collectors from contacting debtors via social media.
Proto Thema notes also that SEO Mitropoulos displayed also a video showing Dave, a fortune-teller.a man pretending to be a fortune-teller. He was able to know lots of information about the people asked him his advise about the future. How did he do it? A team of hackers behind a curtain were screening the people’s social media accounts.
Fortune-teller Dave stunned the public in Brussels, because he knew a damned lots of information about the people who were asking his advise about their future. How did he do it?
A team of hackers behind a curtain were screening the social media accounts of Dave’s customers.
Some thoughts on the issue:
I honestly want to see the estimated success rate of this social media screening concept.
I see the urgent need for legislation in Greece before this practice can be implemented.
I have to admit, I see a rare opportunity to create jobs for the young, social media savvy and IT educated, photoshop-skilled Greeks so that they will not flee abroad for a work place.
Social media shop can be a business opportunity as well.
On the funny side of the issue, two remarks:
It is not clear whether the number of Likes and Shares of a Facebook post will turn to the debtors’ disadvantage.
That debt collectors will denounce debtors who just show off on social media, is just an unfounded rumor.
Greek debtor cat enjoying fancy drinks at the swimming pool. Real picture or photoshop?
PS Yes. Yes. Yes. One of the cats asked whether she will be seized as asset because of her pictures on Facebook. I assured her “No worries! You owe zero euro to the banks.” The other cat said she would go wear paw socks with holes, take a picture and upload it on her FB account because she owes to the younger cat 10gr of catnip.