Social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter have changed the way our society interacts. While these websites have brought about lots of positive changes, they have also changed the practice of law. Divorce lawyers often find fodder for their cases on the opponent’s personal Facebook pages and there are even stories of fugitives who have been brought to justice after a Facebook posting about their location.
You might think that Facebook can’t impact your bankruptcy case, but you would be wrong. Bill collectors and creditors will often troll Facebook looking at personal pages – and, in some cases, finding relevant material. There are several ways that you can threaten your bankruptcy case by posting what you might consider innocuous information. The following are top among them and should be avoided at all costs.
• Posting Information About Property Not Listed in your Filing
When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to list all of your personal property. At Mapes Law Offices, we will then work with you to protect that property under state and federal laws. Any property that is not protected CAN be taken to pay off creditors. Depending on the items, it will likely not be seized, but you have to give creditors that option. If you do not declare ALL of your personal property, you are in violation of the bankruptcy laws.
If you post photos of your new car or the boat your husband just purchased on Facebook, your creditors can see that and go after the items or even ask that you pay back an amount equal to the value of the property. Even items that are gifts can fall prey to this, so be careful about what you put on Facebook.
Nowadays, it is common for people to post pictures of their recent vacations on Facebook. But, if you just filed for bankruptcy and then went on a 14-day trip to France, it might raise a few eyebrows in Bankruptcy Court. If your creditors notice this type of spending on your Facebook page, the issue could be raised in court and your filing could be challenged.
At Mapes Law Offices, we understand that there are extenuating circumstances and you might not have even paid for the trip, but your creditors might not be as understanding. If you want to avoid problems, it is better to not post those type of pictures on Facebook while you are in the middle of a bankruptcy filing.
• New Jobs
If you get a new job, especially one that pays well and is a promotion from your current one, you want to tell the world. But, before you do that, consider the repercussions. If your creditors notice your earning power has gone up, they might challenge the bankruptcy. If your new employment has not been reported, that is another cause to fight the filing.
These are the most common problems that social media websites can stir up during bankruptcy filings, but there are others. To be sure you don’t run into any of them, make sure your privacy settings are correct on your Facebook page. Don’t tweet any personal information and consider getting rid of friends or followers you don’t know. It’s better to risk offending a stranger than giving a debt collector information they can use against you.