Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy fraud is an important reason to check your credit reports. According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) nearly 25 million adults - 11.2 % of the adult population - have been victims of identity fraud. Bankruptcy fraud is one of the types of fraud the FTC investigates. Criminals steal credit cards, max them out, and then file bankruptcy in the victim's name.

If you believe someone has filed for bankruptcy in your name, write to the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. A list of the U.S. Trustee Programs' Regional Offices is available on the UST website, or check the Blue Pages of your phone book under U.S. Government Bankruptcy Administration. In your letter, describe the situation and provide proof of your identity. The U.S. Trustee will make a criminal referral to law enforcement authorities if you provide appropriate documentation to substantiate your claim. You also may want to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney and/or the FBI in the city where the bankruptcy was filed.

The U.S. Trustee does not provide legal representation, legal advice, or referrals to lawyers. That means you may need to hire an attorney to help convince the bankruptcy court that the filing is fraudulent. The U.S. Trustee does not provide consumers with copies of court documents. You can get them from the bankruptcy clerk's office for a fee.

A challenged bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy may be challenged if:

  • You've run up charges on your credit cards right before you file bankruptcy
  • You've taken out cash advances right before you file
  • You've changed your spending patterns
  • You've consulted with an attorney and he/she has advised you to file bankruptcy, and you have continued to make credit card charges
  • You hide assets, income, or other property from the courts
  • You transfer cash or property to friends or relatives
  • You apply for credit and overstate income or understate debt on the application.

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