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Debt collectors will soon be allowed to reach you by Facebook, text

This time next year, the texts blowing up your phone may be coming not from political campaigns, but rather from debt collectors.
This Aug. 11, 2019 file photo shows Visa credit cards in New Orleans. U.S. consumers reduced...
This Aug. 11, 2019 file photo shows Visa credit cards in New Orleans. U.S. consumers reduced their borrowing for a third straight month in May 2020 as the millions of jobs lost because of the coronavirus pandemic made households less eager to take on new debt. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday, July 8, 2020 that consumer borrowing declined by $18.3 billion in May, a drop of 5.3%.(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 9:08 PM EST
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(CBS)- This time next year, the texts blowing up your phone may be coming not from political campaigns, but rather from debt collectors.

The federal government has cleared the way for collection agencies to send unlimited texts, emails and even instant messages to debtors on social media platforms. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a final rule late last week outlining how collectors can use new communication methods.

The federal agency, which is charged with protecting Americans from financial abuse, did not limit the number of messages collectors could send, but it did require that each message come with instructions on how to opt out. The bureau also limited the number of times collectors may call someone to seven calls per week for each debt.

Consumer advocates criticized the rule for not requiring alleged debtors to consent before being contacted by email or text, and for setting a limit on phone contact that could result in a flood of calls for people who owe money to several creditors.

“Even though there are some wins in here, the bureau has really fallen short of protecting consumers,” said Yvette Garcia, litigation counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, an advocacy group.

“This is a terrible time to create more burdens for people who have debts. This certainly does not make it easier for them to recover from the economic hit of the pandemic,” Garcia added.

Copyright 2020 WVLT via CBSN. All rights reserved.