Could Social Media Damage Your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
BEWARE: Facebook Posts Can Affect Bankruptcy
Many people in Arizona and throughout the United States have grown to love social media, especially Facebook. Social Media outlets are a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. Despite that, posting your personal information on-line has also opened a window that allows others to peer into your personal life. I doubt many Bankruptcy Trustees or creditors are looking up debtors to see if they are telling the truth about their personal assets. However, it can take less than two minutes to find out a lot about a person and their assets by simply looking on-line. It is always a good idea to keep your profile “private”. This will keep people from finding out too much information about you but is far from safe. More importantly, if you are considering filing bankruptcy, be sure to disclose all of your assets and property to your bankruptcy attorney. If they know about your property then they can almost always protect it, or at least put you in the best situation to keep as much of it as possible.
With the ever growing popularity of social media sites, the practice of law has adapted and changed with the growth. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social media sites have changed the practice of law. Family Law and Divorce attorneys regularly review the opposing party’s Facebook profile for evidence of adultery or hidden assets. In some cases, prosecutors present online photos to juries as evidence of guilty behavior. It is a common practice of bill collectors to troll social media sites looking for assets and locating debtors. If you aren’t careful, these same tactics can affect the progress of your bankruptcy filing as well. Seek the assistance of your Arizona bankruptcy lawyer when going through the bankruptcy process in Arizona. A Mesa AZ bankruptcy law firm will warn you on what posts and pictures might adversely affect your bankruptcy.
Ways Social Media Could Affect Your Bankruptcy
1. Posting Pictures of Luxury Spending: Trips, Vacations, High Ticket Items
2. Boasting about Side Jobs or Getting a New Job
3. Showing Off Personal Property that is Not Listed
Many of the ever-growing followers of social media do not guard what they post online for the world to see. Rarely do individuals at the start of a bankruptcy, (or later in the midst of one), consider that the photos and postings of their new toys (cars, TV’s) their vacation or weekend getaways, or other purchases are at risk for being brought into evidence in the bankruptcy court by a bankruptcy trustee. Recent vacations and purchases may raise concern with the bankruptcy trustee as to how debtors are spending their financial resources. Remember, creditors, bill collectors, and the bankruptcy court appointed trustee of your bankruptcy estate may be trolling social media sites looking for evidence that your situation has changed, or that you were not entirely forthcoming in the listing of your income, assets, and job positions on your bankruptcy petition and paperwork.
Don’t be so naive to think that that limiting access to your profile to “friends only” will help. Facebook and other social media information can easily be subpoenaed – do not assume any right to privacy for your online materials. Is it really necessary to tell everyone about what is going on in your world? Do you really need to show off and seek out the approval of others? If so, be prepared to have your not-so-private personal information used against you.