Now that the Court has spoken on this issue, it is a violation for a debt collector to disclose on the outside of an envelope (or if you can see it through the envelope window) any personal information other than the debt collector’s address. This can include a file number, identification number or a QR Code.
We are seeing the use of QR codes more frequently. These are those square bar codes you see on envelopes. These are easily readable by any of a number of smartphone apps.
So, you ask, why is this a problem for debt collectors? It allows anybody who has the unopened mail to simply scan the QR Bar Code and can read the information stored on the Bar Code. A debt collector is NOT allowed to disclose personal information to anyone other that the debtor (the person who owes the money).
For example, a recent letter sent by Cavalry to one of our clients had the QR Bar Code and with the use of a cell phone we could read the following:
CAV 12365478 1 123 MAIN ST ANYTOWN PA 15201 789 08/28/2014
The courts held this is not only an invasion of your privacy, but a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Any violation of the FDCPA allows you to turn the tables and sue the debt collector. Our office handles these matters at NO COST to you.
So, keep not only the collection letters, but the envelopes they have been sent in.
Send any collection evidence that you have via email or fax to us for a free review.