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Nov 3, 2015 3:10 PM

NH1 News Investigates Bankruptcy Bluff: NH AG warns scammers cry bankruptcy to get your cash

CONCORD - A warning tonight from the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

A bankruptcy scam, they say, is most likely making its way to the Granite State right now.

The New Hampshire Attorney General getting word from the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the bankruptcy courts that these scammers are hard at work.

They say they’re targeting people who may file or who have already filed for bankruptcy.

“Yes, we have,” said Cindy Rentas of Manchester. “We have filed bankruptcy.”

Rentas said she had no other choice.

With mounting bills, she and her husband had two cars repossessed and have six kids ranging in age from 13 to just 10 months.

“It's something that had to be done,” said Rentas.

She said filing for bankruptcy was her only option.

As for the scam, she calls it lower than low.

“They represent themselves as somebody from the debtor's lawyer's office,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Roth.

He said the crooks’ caller identification even pop up with the intended victim's attorney's office but there are red flags to be on the look-out for.

These calls are made late at night and on the weekends and the thieves put the pressure on and tell them to wire the money immediately.

“A debtor's attorney is not going to call you at off hours like that and demand payment be made to a third-party,” said Roth.

So how are the scammers getting these names?

Bankruptcy filings are public record.

The bad news?

Practically anyone could get that information.

We asked Rentas what she would have done if she had received one of those calls.

She replied, “Oh, they probably would have gotten an earful."

At the same time, she hopes others don’t fall for it.

She knows first-hand how tough, she says, it can be to declare bankruptcy but for some, like her, it has to be done.

“In the long run,” Rentas said, “it's going to be better for all of us down the line.”

If thieves try to target you, call the Attorney General's Office.

Scams should also be reported to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau at 1-888-468-4454.

Consumers with consumer-related complaints or concerns can call the Attorney General's Consumer Information Line at 1-888-468-4454 or file a complaint.

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