Myth # 2 – Everyone Will Know You Filed Bankruptcy


Unless you’re a prominent person or a major corporation and the filing is picked up by the mainstream media, the chances are very good that the only people who will ever know that you filed for bankruptcy are you, your attorney, your creditors and the people you personally tell.

While it’s true that your bankruptcy is a matter of public record, so many people have filed–5,652,969 between 2006 and 2010–unless someone is specifically trying to track down information on you, there is almost no likelihood that anyone will even know you filed.

Bankruptcy filings are NOT indexed by Google! 

They are available–for a fee–by signing up for the PACER court docket service, which all bankruptcy lawyers and bill collectors subscribe to. PACER does NOT make its information available to internet search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

It used to be that a bankruptcy filing was news, because it (50 years ago) used to be a rare event, in part because the laws were far more restrictive and credit was relatively rare. (We forget that, until the 1970′s, the only credit that most people ever had was their mortgage and a car loan.) With the adoption of the modern bankruptcy code in 1978 and the rise of the credit card industry, what was rare became commonplace.

However, telling someone that someone else filed bankruptcy is still good gossip…just like telling a someone you heard so-and-so is getting a divorce. So, if you don’t want everyone you know to know you filed, you need to keep the information to yourself. As for newspapers, my experience is that very few papers include information about the tens or hundreds of thousands of private individuals who filed bankruptcy in recent years, and even if they did…who would be interested enough to read that stuff?

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