Social Media and Bankruptcy

Social media technology has become a part of our daily lives. Advances in mobile technology have made it so our social profiles are available from our mobile phones with the push of a button. People upload photos to their social profiles during the day and share photos of their family and activities with ease.

Our connection to social media can be harmless but if you are filing for bankruptcy or even considering filing then you need to change your social media habits immediately. Today everyone is using the internet to find out more about you.

If you are struggling financially or filing bankruptcy, creditors, debt collection agencies and bankruptcy trustees are using the internet to learn more about you. Your bankruptcy attorney will tell you to stop all social media posting and to avoid sharing any information that may complicate your case. Actions such as sharing vacation photos or the news of a new purchase on Facebook or updating your LinkedIn profile to show a raise or promotion can be harmful to your bankruptcy case.

For example, if you are making the agreed upon chapter 13 bankruptcy payments and your trustee sees online that you just got a promotion at work or went on an expensive vacation they can petition the court to re-evaluate your payment arrangement. Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments are intended to be the maximum you can afford and leaving you with enough money to live on. If it appears you have significant extra funds available to you then your creditor payments may be increased.

It would be naïve to think that privacy settings could help you protect this information. A trustee can easily subpoena access to these sites to review your online activity. Social media is typically very self-promotional which makes it very common for users to over-share.

Anyone who uses social media should consider the reach it has. If you are in the process of a divorce an attorney or investigator may scour social profiles to find incriminating information pertaining to infidelity or financial dishonesty. Employers and human resources professionals are searching social profiles to find out more about a potential new hire. If a new job or promotion comes down to you and another person and you have a social profile filled with inappropriate photos and language, it is likely that the other person will get the job.

There can be a lot of benefits of social media technology. The important thing is to remember how and when to use it and when to avoid or sensor it.

This guest post was provided by David Chang of Chang and Carlin, LLP. Their Chicago bankruptcy lawyers are committed to helping clients with chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy, real estate law, foreclosure issues and tax and IRS issues.

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