It sounds as if lenders in the United States could be sending foreclosure notices via Facebook in the not so distant future. There have already been instances of borrowers being served with foreclosure notices this way in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
My first thought was, “Are they going to do this with a post to someone’s wall?” I read a number of articles and blog posts on this subject and couldn’t find one instance where a person had been notified by any means other than an email. Can you imagine getting a notification from Facebook that Bank of America has posted on your wall? Mortifying to say the least. It is easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to this and say, “Hey, how dare they notify me that they are foreclosing on my home through Facebook!” My first reaction when I heard of this was fairly similar but then this article in Time points out that foreclosure notices are already public record in the United States. Taking it one step further, these notices are also posted in the local newspaper. Not that anyone reads the print version any more. Most people quoted in the stories that I read said that there are already many privacy complaints about service of foreclosure notices in person and through the mail and they don’t think that serving notice via Facebook creates any new issues. Here’s a helpful hint, if you are in default on your home, don’t throw a cocktail party at said home.
If you are concerned about being served a foreclosure notice via Facebook there are a couple things you can do to make it difficult for your lender. Tighten up your privacy settings. Tell Facebook you don’t want anything from anyone who isn’t your friend, you don’t want anyone who isn’t your friend to see any part of your profile and don’t accept friend requests from people you think you know but really aren’t sure. One thing that is interesting is in some of these cases all it took for the court to agree that notice had been served was a change in the privacy settings of the person who was being served.
For the time being electronic service of foreclosure notices is generally only permitted by courts when the party being served has agreed to it in advance. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this means if you said they can notify you by email then they can notify you through Facebook.
What do you think about this? Do you think that sending foreclosure notices through Facebook would open a whole new can of worms? Would it just be speeding up the inevitable? Are there privacy issues that aren’t being considered? Please feel free to post a comment below or where you found this link on Facebook.
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