Scam Targets Bankruptcy Filers

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
A sophisticated phone scam is targeting bankruptcy filers in several states, using personal information from filings and posing as attorneys to get intended victims to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt.

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys issued a warning that “Under no circumstances would a bankruptcy attorney or staff member telephone a client and ask for a wire transfer immediately to satisfy a debt. Nor would the bankruptcy attorney and staff ever threaten arrest if a debt isn’t paid.”

Bankruptcy filers in Vermont and Virginia reportedly have received calls. Vermont’s Attorney General says scammers use software to “spoof” the Caller ID system so the call appears to be originating from the phone line of the consumer’s bankruptcy attorney. Typically the calls come late in the evening or during non-business hours to make it difficult for intended victims to verify the call by contacting their attorney.

Consumers receiving this kind of call are advised to hang up and contact their bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Do not give any personal or financial account information to the caller.

Debtor Education Courses

The Bankruptcy Code mandates that the debtor take a credit counseling course within 180 days prior to filing bankruptcy. You can find a course provider by search on the internet. No course is any better than another so pick the least expensive.

The course is one of the many useless hoops debtors must jump through prior to filing their bankruptcy petition. There’s really nothing to be gained from the “course,” except that you need the certificate to file bankruptcy. It’s your ticket into the bankruptcy system. Enter the information quickly, and get it over with. However, don’t take the course until shortly before you are scheduled to file bankruptcy. It’s only good for 180 days, and you don’t want to have to waste your time on this useless exercise again.

There will also be a second course that you will be required to take when your case is filed in order to receive your discharge order. This course must be done and the certificate filed within 45 days after your 341 meeting occurs. Again the comments I’ve made above apply to this course also.