Here is another article about things going on around Rochester.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court serving the Rochester region issued a warning this month about a dangerous phone scam that uses high-tech software to trick the Caller ID system. Phone scammers have long targeted the most vulnerable among us — seniors citizens, those with dementia, and the disabled. Now, a new phone scam is going after another vulnerable population: East Coast residents who recently filed for bankruptcy.
So far this October, calls have been reported in Vermont and Virginia. The callers use personal information and pose as attorneys, then pressure victims to immediately wire money under threat of imminent arrest. To combat the latest iteration of this age-old phone scam, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys has issued the following warning:
“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.”
What’s worse, the Vermont Attorney General reports that the scammers are using sophisticated software that tricks the Caller ID system into displaying the phone line of the victim’s bankruptcy attorney. The criminals place their calls after business hours, which makes it difficult for the bankruptcy filer to verify the legitimacy of the call.
Fortunately, the criminals will have fewer potential victims to call this year. Both in Rochester and around the nation, the number of people and businesses filing for bankruptcy are way down. In 2014, 26,983 businesses and 909,812 individuals/households filed for bankruptcy, a 13% drop compared to the year prior. Total bankruptcies in Western New York have fallen sharply so far this year as well, with the number of cases in the Buffalo-Rochester region falling 7.9% in 2015.
Garry Graber of Hodgson Russ LLP in Buffalo is one of the most prominent bankruptcy attorneys in Western New York, and he says you can thank the improving economy for the drop in new cases. Still, he cautioned that bankruptcy statistics are cyclical and will rise eventually.
“It’s still slow compared to how it’s been in various times in recent economic phases, but I would also say it will pick up as soon as the economy hits a couple of speed bumps or in the event that another bubble occurs in the debt markets,” Graber said.
While the falling number of bankruptcy filings is a positive financial indicator, it’s little comfort to the men, women, and businesses still saddled with debt. If you have filed for bankruptcy recently, beware of callers demanding money or financial information over the phone. If you receive such a call, hang up and contact your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.