Bankruptcy Scam Alert from the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s office has issued the alert below warning consumers of a bankruptcy-related scam. The alert may be viewed here.

AG Healey Warns of bankruptcy transfer scam Bankruptcy Filers are Reportedly Being Targeted to Wire Money to Satisfy Debts

BOSTON – Amid nationwide reports of fraud, Attorney General Maura Healey is warning consumers of a scam targeting those in bankruptcy in an effort to steal their money.

“This scam preys on well-meaning people who are going through a very difficult time and are often under significant stress,” AG Healey said. “While these scams may sound authentic, people should be wary of any unsolicited requests for an immediate transfer of money.”

Consumers who have filed for bankruptcy or have begun the process of filing for bankruptcy are being targeted by a scam that requests the immediate wire transfer of money to satisfy their debts.

The scheme is typically perpetrated by individuals posing as the consumer’s attorney. Using a technique called “spoofing,” which is increasingly being used in phone scams, the scammers are able to make their phone number appear to be that of the consumer’s actual attorney on caller ID. The scammers contact the consumer with instructions to immediately send a wire transfer that will satisfy their debts outside of the bankruptcy proceedings. During the call, the scammers may use personal information to make the scheme sound more authentic.

The fraudulent phone calls are typically placed during nonbusiness hours, presumably to dissuade the consumer from contacting their attorney. This can make confirming the legitimacy of the caller more difficult.

Consumers who receive these calls are advised to hang up and contact their bankruptcy attorney. If a wire transaction is made, consumers are advised to contact the wire transfer agency used. Unfortunately, there may be little recourse to get the money back.

Here are some tips for consumers to avoid being scammed:

  • Bankruptcy attorneys will never request an immediate wire transfer payment to satisfy a debt.
  • Consumers should ask questions that may be difficult for an imposter to answer for verification.
  • Consumers should not be fooled by details that a caller may have about them or a family member as scammers often get information from the Internet to sound authentic.
  • Consumers should never give out personal information like social security, credit card or bank account numbers through an unsolicited request over the phone.

The Attorney General’s Office fields thousands of inquiries pertaining to scams and can direct consumers to the appropriate agency to file a complaint. One of those is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Consumer information specific telephone scams are available on the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov. Consumers may also call AG Healey’s Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400. Additional information and resources pertaining to consumer scams are available on the Attorney General’s website.