Unfortunately scammers and con artists exist even within the bankruptcy context. Usually it is limited to those who accidentally file or disclose Personally Identifiable Information (a/k/a “Pii”). For example oftentimes a social security number, birth dates, minor children, account numbers, HIPPA protected information, etc… Scammers will then troll the bankruptcy filings for information like this and sell it.
Usually though if someone is filing bankruptcy stealing that person’s identity for the sake of financial gain isn’t overly rewarding. At least not in the short term. Though certainly in the long term, after the debtor has re-built their lives, this can come back and really harm a lot of people.
The latest scam though hits particularly close to home. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys recently released an article outlining how people will spoof the debtor’s phone number and demand money from their clients.
As usual the scammers have done their home-work and use the information that is publicly on file with the Bankruptcy Court to convince the client of their legitimacy. Of course this scam works best for law firms that have volume practices and there is little interaction with the attorneys or places where clients are passed around from staff member to staff member throughout the process. It is unlikely that such a thing would happen here given our relationship with our clients. But you never know. Always be cautions and on the lookout.
About the Author: Robertson Cohen
Rob Cohen is a Managing Partner of Cohen & Cohen, P.C., serving clients in Colorado and Wyoming. He’s a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Panel Trustee, certified mediator, and has administered over 8,000 Chapter 7 bankruptcy estates.