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Scammers and Bankruptcy

Scam2

If you are going through either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will likely have a lot on your legal plate. From putting together meticulous documentation of your assets, debts, and finances to making sure that you meet all of the obligations required by the bankruptcy trustee. While you are going through this process in an attempt to give yourself a financial fresh start, you may, unfortunately, be a large target for scammers, who oftentimes directly go after bankruptcy filers.

Public Information

As you may already know if you have filed for bankruptcy, or are considering filing for bankruptcy, all of the information in a bankruptcy case is public information. Most of this documentation is easily discoverable on a web portal that can be accessed for a small fee. Due to the fact that bankruptcy information is all public, unscrupulous scammers will use this as an opportunity to use personal and private information against a bankruptcy filer.

How Scammers Operate

In most cases, the bankruptcy information that is public will include the name and phone number of the person filing for bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy case will also include the name and phone number of the attorney or law firm that filed the bankruptcy case on behalf of the person filing for bankruptcy. A scammer will then take the phone number and name of the law firm and use software that will change their phone number to appear as if it is the phone number of the law firm. Therefore, when a bankruptcy filer looks to see who is calling them, they will think it is their attorney, or the law firm that filed their bankruptcy on their behalf.

The scammer will then fraudulently represent themselves as a member of the law firm and indicate that one of the debts on the bankruptcy petition is not considered dischargeable, and therefore it needs to be paid immediately in order for the bankruptcy to proceed. In other cases, a scammer will take this a step further and say that the debtor needs to pay the debt immediately or they could be held in contempt of court, or even be arrested. If a debtor is convinced the person is from the law firm, they may obliged and give their credit card information over the phone.

Warnings of Scammers

Two different states already issued press releases in an attempt to notify the public of the problem, but it appears that the problem is starting to become common nationwide. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, or already have filed for bankruptcy, know that an attorney will never request that you pay a debt over the phone immediately. This should be a red flag warning to you to hang up and call the attorney’s office directly.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Make sure that you know your legal rights. Contact our West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 for a free consultation, and to help you through the bankruptcy process.

Resources:

vaeb.uscourts.gov/wordpress/?wpfb_dl=631

vtb.uscourts.gov/news/attorney-general-warns-scams-targeting-bankruptcy-filers

pacer.gov

https://www.kelleylawoffice.com/debts-shelter-in-place-and-bankruptcy/

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