Beware: Scammers Targeting Bankruptcy Filers

Scammers are targeting bankruptcy filers throughout the country by posing as attorneys or law office staff and telling them to immediately wire money to pay a debt.

Don’t fall for it. One of the best ways to avoid a scam is to stop the caller and make a direct call to the supposed person or company. For example, if they say it’s your attorney’s office, stop and YOU PLACE THE CALL DIRECTLY TO THE OFFICE. You know you’ll be dealing with the real person or office, instead of a phony. Don’t be hurried by the caller. Situations of this type do not call for immediate action and can wait a day or a weekend if necessary.

Here’s the bulletin issued by the bankruptcy court serving northern Virginia (with information applicable to all jurisdictions):

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGNIA
CONSUMER ADVISORYALERT
Phone Scammers Target Bankruptcy Filers in Virginia and Other States

A sophisticated phone scam is targeting bankruptcy filers in several states, using personal information from filings and posing as attorneys to coerce intended victims to wire money to the scammers immediately to satisfy a debt.

An article published October 20, 2015, has been placed on the internet uscourts.gov web site, under Judiciary News, which reads, as follows:

Phone scammers are 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.

Date: November 2, 2015

William C. Redden
Clerk of Court, US Bankruptcy Court
Eastern District of Virginia
Alexandria Division

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