How to Record Debt Collector Web or Social Network Page

Coping with Bill Collection

Suppose you want to record your online interaction with an adversary . . . such as a collection agency.  Your goal is to capture reliable legal evidence of what you encountered when trying to access or provide information to the adversary’s web site or online app.

In effect, the video you create will record your eyewitness testimony of what you see online at a particular point in time.

You might want to do this, for example, to show that you tried to access a debt collector’s web site, but it was not available, did not work right or gave you misinformation.

Ten Steps

For making your record, here are 10 steps:

1.  Write out a step-by-step script of what you going to do and say as you make the recording.

2.  Launch your webcam so you can see yourself live on your monitor.

3.  Launch your browser or app so you can see that on your monitor at the same time you see the webcam image.

4.  Start a screencast recording program, such as screencast-o-matic (free, open-source service), to record what appears on your monitor.

5.  As the recording starts, identify yourself and explain the reason for your recording.  Explain the technical methods you are using to make the recording.  Don’t be afraid to read directly from your script.  Your purpose is to record legal evidence, not to make a television news cast.

6.  Use your browser or app and carefully explain each step you take.

7.  Describe what you see and what it means.

8.  Conclude the recording by signing and dating it with your voice.  Say words like, “I Ben Wright hereby sign and affirm this screencast as an accurate reflection of my work.”

9.  Review the video to ensure it is accurate.

10.  Soon after you create the video, store it in an online service such as Microsoft’s Skydrive, which records the date a file like the video was uploaded and last modified.


Here is a hypothetical example.

This demonstration is not the only way to make records of online events.  And it does not cover all of the legal and technical issues that might apply to your particular situation.

If you need legal advice for your particular situation, you need to consult a lawyer rather than to rely on this educational blog and video.

This blog post and video intend to spark public discussion about ways to record online activities.  What do you think?

–Benjamin Wright

Attorney Wright teaches the law of data security and investigations at the SANS Institute.

Related articles:

*  Bill Collectors on Facebook
*  How to Make a Gotcha! Video
* How to video record online chat with legal adversary
* Recording Social Media Legal Evidence