The clerk of the Utah Bankruptcy Court has advised us that there is a group targeting bankruptcy debtors with a phishing attack. This new scam targets people who have filed for bankruptcy and others just getting started with the process. As bankruptcy attorneys, we feel it important to sound the alarm bell to unsuspecting consumers.
The con artists are using software that “spoofs” the Caller ID system so that the call appears to be originating from the phone line of the consumer’s bankruptcy attorney. Victims of the scam are being instructed to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt that supposedly is outside the bankruptcy proceeding. Some consumers have been threatened with arrest if they fail to wire money to pay the debt.
In some instances, the perpetrators are using personal information from public filings to identify consumers, assume the identity of their attorneys and sound more convincing by phone. These calls are typically placed during nonbusiness hours, making it difficult for clients to verify the call by getting in touch with their attorney to ask about it.
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. Legitimate debt collectors and agencies cannot threaten arrest in order to satisfy a debt.
If you or a family member receive this kind of call, the best thing to do is to hang up and contact your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Do NOT give out any personal or financial account information to the caller.