Do newspapers publish the names of people who file bankruptcy?

In North Carolina, foreclosure notices are required to be published in the newspaper; however, bankruptcy filings are not. Newspapers in Asheville and other parts of Western North Carolina do not routinely publish the names of bankruptcy filers, although they may do so if the bankruptcy filing is newsworthy to the community. In situations where the newspaper publishes the name of someone who has filed bankruptcy, news of the bankruptcy filing is almost always related to a larger story. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the average person’s bankruptcy will ever be printed in the newspaper.

Pursuant to Section 107 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code, bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record. Federal court records, including bankruptcy filings, are available online and may be accessed by anyone with a membership to PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Bankruptcy court records may be searched by the bankruptcy filer’s name, Social Security number, or court case file number. The information that is available to the public will generally include the name of the debtor, a list of the creditors and the amount of money involved, attorneys of record, as well as the status or disposition of the proceedings. To prevent identity theft, only the last four digits of a person Social Security number will show up on the public records.

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