I have received word of a new devious new bankruptcy scam going around. I want to alert all of my clients so that they can avoid being scammed.
One thing that you need to realize is that your bankruptcy petition is 99.99% public record. The only item of information that is not accessible to the general public is your complete social security number. Your name, address, previous addresses, employer and pay history, etc are all viewable by any person with a PACER account. This is giving scammers a lot information they need to try to get money out of you.
The scam goes like this. The scammer “spoofs” your caller ID so that it appears that your attorney’s office is calling you. They typically call after hours and pretend to be staff person in the law firm. I have heard a couple versions of the story, but they are all share one thing in common: the person demands that you immediately go to a Walmart or Western Union and transfer a few hundred dollars.
The scammer’s familiarity with your bankruptcy petition gives them a lot of information to sound credible.
Rest assured, my office would never ask you to run to Walmart in the middle of night to transfer money to a creditor. However, enough people across the country are being scammed this way that it is a hot topic on the bankruptcy attorney forums. I haven’t heard from any of my clients about this scam, but at least one Sacramento attorney reports it happening a client.
My best piece of advice is to remain vigilant during and after your bankruptcy. The unfortunate reality is that there is no shortage of shady criminals out there trying to take money from innocent people.
If you receive a phone call like the one I described above, call my office to confirm. If you’re my client you know me and you know Hilary. If someone else is pretending to call from my office or the court, you should be suspicious!