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Nebraska attorney general announces consumer protection team

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Doug Peterson

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson

Debt Collectors , Are Now Allowed To Contact Borrowers, via Social Media. Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a policy in which debt collectors would be allowed to DM borrowers on social media. The FDCPA’s definition of communication includes newer electronic media, such as email, text messaging and social media, CFPB, via an Oct. 2020 summary of the rule. The FDCPA’s definition of communication includes newer electronic media, such as email, text messaging and social media, CFPB, via an Oct. 2020 summary of the rule. This week, that rule was enacted, but there are reportedly strict guidelines. Debt collectors can only send private messages on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. They must also identify themselves as a debt collector and provide an option to opt out of receiving messages in such a way. [The rule] clarifies how debt collectors can communicate with you, including what information they’re required to provide at the outset of collection about the debt, your rights in debt collection and how you can exercise those rights, CFPB, via statement. According to the CFPB, a defaulted debt can only be reported to a credit agency after the debt collector speaks with the borrower in person or by phone, . or waits 14 days after sending a notice via mail or electronic communication

Nebraska consumers needing help dealing with scams, fraud or other unfair and deceptive business practices can turn to a team created within the Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Doug Peterson’s office created the Consumer Affairs Response Team earlier this year and announced its formal launch Thursday.

According to a statement from Peterson's office, the team was created to improve the dispute resolution process between consumers and businesses. The team provides people with one-on-one support in dealing with a broad range of consumer issues, including scams, fraud, identity theft and dispute resolution.

It also provides consumer protection kits, with education about common frauds and scams, ways to reduce unwanted calls and information about how consumers can protect themselves.

Consumer needs became especially apparent after the pandemic began last year. The disruption caused by the coronavirus contributed to a 65% increase in identity theft reports and a 27% rise in fraud and other reported consumer scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Previously, calls from consumers were handled within the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. The division has been restructured, with attorneys now focusing on larger-scale consumer issues, such as the multistate tobacco settlement.

Consumers are asked to first make a good faith effort to resolve their dispute before filing a complaint with the new team. Once a complaint is filed and reviewed, the team works to facilitate communication between the consumer and the business, when appropriate, according to a news release. The dispute resolution process is voluntary and requires the cooperation of both parties.

People can contact the team at: ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.gov or by calling 402-471-2682 (toll-free: 800-727-6432). Complaint forms are also available by mail.

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