Why should a person whose bankruptcy records are filed online become a potential fraud victim?
In the age of mass communication, nothing is more sacred and more vulnerable than a persons “personal details” i.e. their name, address, social security number where applicable, and their credit card number etc. Computer hackers lurk, waiting for such information to be transmitted online in an unencrypted manner so that they can steal the information, and use it to make online purchases on the account of the person whose life they have just stolen.
There is a section of the population of the United States whose personal details are laid bare, and can be stolen or borrowed and they are totally defenseless to prevent it. These people who are members of the rapidly growing community of bankrupts, who, by law, have their personal details advertised online as a service to suppliers to prevent them doing business with an undischarged bankrupt.
The thinking is that after being declared bankrupt, a person must wait several years before they can file for a second time. During that period, the bankrupt is generally in a period of recovery. They may have even become partially credit worthy. Recent information indicates that hackers have discovered this anomaly and are capitalizing on it. These cruel and cynical people have been using the bankrupt’s name to apply for loans and have taken the funds and disappeared back into cyberspace. The bankrupt who may have been scrimping and saving for years to get their life back into financial order finds themselves back in the hole and in a very uncomfortable situation. The “good intentions” that allowed for their bankruptcy records to be left open to protect others have actually allowed the bankrupt’s recovery program to be dealt a cruel blow. A blow which will have caused the bankrupt to lose even more faith in the legal system. This will only go to increase the question mark hanging over their head if they suggest that their money was stolen. The lender only wants to be repaid his money and would rather find a ready target. to recover his money I.e. the bankrupt rather than the hacker who has long since covered his traces.
What to do to prevent future occurrences.
The system cries out for this free flow of information on bankruptcy records to be stopped, and immediately. Any company who requires information on an undischarged bankrupt’s current state of financial affairs should only be allowed access once their identification has been thoroughly checked and verified. This action should allow this section of the population the same level of confidentiality as any other member of the community. This should be their entitlement.