Healthcare matters can involve a whole host of medical and legal complications. At best, these issues may affect you financially; at worst, they could mean the difference between life and death. Whether you go to the hospital for a routine procedure or an emergency, there are steps you can take to help avoid complications.
1. Have an up-to-date Medical Power of Attorney or Advanced Medical Directive (“Living Will”). In the event you cannot make medical decisions yourself, these documents entrust decisions about your care to a person you designate. Advise your family of your designation so that person is notified when decisions must be made.
2. Make sure your name, identifying information and all other information is completely accurate at each doctor’s appointment, outpatient surgery and hospitalization. Serious problems involving medical care sometimes begin as simple clerical errors. A small error can create a major treatment crisis. Reduce the chance of error by carefully reviewing all your doctor’s office or hospital admissions paperwork. During hospitalization check your hospital wristband for errors.
Continue reading at LegalShield.com....
KYC (Know Your Customer) compliance, the regulatory standards that demand to know who you are and what you are doing with your money, are being adopted by Bitcoin exchanges more and more. But with hacks as large as the OPM hack and the high costs of Identity theft, is this secure?
KYC, AML and ABC (Anti-bribery and corruption) compliance are water to the sharks, whales and bubble fish of the financial industry. The collection of customer identity and activity data is such a tradition that even during a recession, the compliance officer industry is booming. Regulator's role is to pressure banks and exchanges into compliance, while law enforcement attempts to hook onto the bigger fish.
This relationship has intensified over recent years with increased pressure on financial institutions to collect and mine user generated data. This is driven in part by a large uptick of 'financial crimes' and fraud of the legacy financial system.
According to BankTech, “'In 2011 banks and financial institutions generated more than one million SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports), of which the IRS reviewed 775,000. Thus far in 2012, the IRS has reviewed 500,000 SARS with case size in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” Producing a steady income for lawyers and the compliance industry in general.
BankTech adds that “Among the growing and most troubling trends is the double income tax return refund fraud. The IRS has seen a disturbing number of cases of identity theft where social security numbers and other personal information are stolen -- usually by well-organized Eastern European crime networks -- and used to submit a duplicate tax return and claim a refund.” There were 500 cases prosecuted in 2012.
This is believed to be because of growing dependence on the Internet to expand the effectiveness of financial services, both corporate and governmental. Many government websites today take in claims through automated forms, and most major banks are heavy on online banking.
The problem is that their security rests on a foundation that is continually being shaken, that of third parties securely handling customer's personal information. And with online and telephone means of accessing financial services growing, the value of individual's personal information is also on the rise. Particularly to those willing to commit identity theft. Continue reading at The CoinTelegraph....
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An Arizona woman has been sent to jail for six years for masterminding a tax rebate scam which used Facebook to find and target unemployed people for identity theft.
34-year-old Elaine Monique Zavala-Charres of Winslow, Arizona scammed over $400,000 out of the US revenue system, and on top of her jail sentence will have to pay a similar amount, $411,309, back in restitution as well as spending another three years in "supervised release" at the end of her spell inside.
A co-conspirator of Zavala-Charres, 27-year-old Lacey Hollinger of Massena, New York, used social media including Facebook to pick out likely locals, who she then contacted, posing as a government representative working on an economic stimulus program.
"Several dozen" people responded to Hollinger, providing plenty of sensitive personal information for use in identity theft. This information was then passed on to Zavala-Charres, who pooled it with additional data harvested from Arizona locals by other members of the team, and then used the pile of identity info to make multiple tax claims.
Most of the identities used belonged to unemployed people, presumably to minimize the risk that the scam would be spotted early - in many cases of ID theft tax refund scams, the targets are not aware that their information has been taken and made use of until they try to submit their own tax returns later in the tax year. Continue reading at Naked Security....
Tracy Mitchell was sentenced to about 13 years in prison on Friday for her role in a stolen identity theft ring, which involved more than 1,000 stolen identities, 9,000 false tax returns, which claimed more than $24 million and resulted in about $9 million paid out by the IRS in fraudulent refunds.
“The amount of money involved (in this scheme) is mind boggling,” said U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose.
Mitchell, a Phenix City woman who was employed at the hospital at Fort Benning, was considered one of the ring leaders of the eight co-defendants who were also sentenced for this crime. She was responsible for stealing the identities of 99 soldiers, some of whom were deployed to Afghanistan when their identities were stolen.
Family of the victims wrote the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama, describing the effect of this crime.
“This news was devastating, to think that my 19-year-old son, who was defending the very freedom this country stands for, was wronged by one of those people he was willing to die for,” one mother wrote. Continue reading at the Montgomery Advertiser....
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Moonlighting on the job, a Miami-Dade County cop wrote 159 police reports claiming people with bad credit histories were “victims” of identity theft, according to court records.
The reality: Veteran Miami-Dade police officer George Price fabricated the reports and sold them so they could be used to remove blemishes from the purported victims' credit histories.
Price, 42, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge Friday for his supporting role in an alleged credit-repair ring. Price, who joined the force in 1999, must resign by next week.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on his fraud conviction, but is expected to receive a significantly shorter sentence because he pleaded guilty and has agreed to assist the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in their investigation, according to a plea deal signed by Price, his defense attorney, Marshall Dore Louis, and the prosecutor, Michael Davis. Read more at the Miami Herald....
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Odessa, Texas police are dealing with an increasing problem of people possessing fake government-issued IDs and many are believed to be illegal aliens.
The Odessa Police Department says they are seeing these cases “weekly and sometimes even on a daily basis,” NewsWest 9 reports. Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information can include having a fake social security card, fake resident card, or fake Texas drivers license.
“If we come in contact with someone or even arrest somebody, we’re not going to ask that person if they’re an illegal alien. However, if it is determined that somebody is possibly illegal, then they basically get booked into the jail and they can be turned over to Homeland Security,” Cpl. Steve LeSueur of the Odessa PD says.
LeSueur says it’s usually pretty easy to spot the fakes. Continue reading at the American Mirror....
A Troy, Alabama, man was sentenced to prison yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama, and Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.
Devon Tucker, 31, a former jailer of the Troy Police Department at the city jail, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade sentenced Tucker to serve 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $13,162 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
According to court documents, from January 2014 to January 2015, Tucker stole the personal identification information of approximately 150 individuals who were processed into the Troy city jail. Tucker provided those identities to his co-conspirators for the purpose of filing false federal income tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds from the U.S. Treasury. Tucker was paid in pre-paid debit cards in the names of the identity theft victims for his involvement in the scheme. Read more at WTVY....
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A Florida man attempted to chew off his fingerprints while in a patrol car to avoid being identified by the police.
On Thursday, Lee County Sheriff detectives noticed a 2015 Mercedes that had been reported stolen and after stopping the vehicle, they found the driver, Kenzo Roberts, was using a fake ID, had a concealed firearm and possessed three fraudulent credit cards.
Surveillance video shows Roberts unsuccessfully trying to bite off his own fingerprints while in the backseat of the patrol car. Lee County Sheriff officials say Roberts has two felony warrants for his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Click here to see the video at 11Alive.com....
LifeLock, the well-known, heavily advertised identity theft protection services company, is being sued by its own shareholders, the law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announced on July 27.
The complaint alleges that LifeLock and certain of its executive officers made a series of false and/or misleading statements to investors, and failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations and prospects.
Specifically, the defendants are alleged to have made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose, among other things: (1) that the Company had failed to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program to protect its users' sensitive personal data, including credit card, social security, and bank account numbers; (2) that the Company falsely advertised that it protected consumers' sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions; (3) that the Company failed to meet the 2010 settlement order's recordkeeping requirements; and (4) that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company's statements about its business, operations, and prospects, were false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis. Read the law firm's complete press release at CNN Money....
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission re-opened an investigation into LifeLock's fraudulent activities after the company failed to honor 2010 court order to repay its clients $12 million.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. -The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against two Upper Dublin Township business owners following a series of identity theft crimes.
Eric Lamont Martin and Portia D. Martin have been charged with theft of $124,981. In March 2015 authorities began investigating the two, who are the owners to Centra-Spike, a heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company.
Police believe the two obtained personal information from at least eight individuals, and applied for fraudulent loans in their names. The loans were applied for through Synchrony Financial in order to pay for alleged HVAC services.
Read more at MyFoxPhilly....
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Big-three credit bureau Experian is the target of a class-action lawsuit just filed in California. The suit alleges that Experian negligently violated consumer protection laws when it failed to detect for nearly 10 months that a customer of its data broker subsidiary was a scammer who ran a criminal service that resold consumer data to identity thieves.
The lawsuit comes just days after a judge in New Hampshire handed down a 13-year jail sentence against Hieu Minh Ngo, a 25-year-old Vietnamese man who ran an ID theft service variously named Superget.info and findget.me.
Ngo admitted hacking into or otherwise illegally gaining access to databases belonging to some of the world’s largest data brokers, including a Court Ventures — a company that Experian acquired in 2012. He got access to some 200 million consumer records by posing as a private investigator based in the United States, and for nearly ten months after Experian acquired Court Ventures, Ngo continued paying for his customers’ data searches via cash wire transfers from a bank in Singapore. Read more at Krebs on Security....
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In this video, Oberthur Technologies North America President Martin Ferenczi discusses identity theft and credit card solutions. He speaks on "Market Makers."
This new "Chip and PIN" technology will provide a high degree of confidence that your card cannot be counterfeited," he says.
When asked why it has taken over 10 years for this technology to start being used in the United States when it has long been used in other countries, Ferenczi replies, "because it wasn't born in the United States."
A second reason is that the U.S. has far better communication systems than other countries; therefore our online financial transaction security systems have been relatively more secure than in other nations.
Click here to watch this 3:30 minute video at Bloomberg.com.
Seventh Circuit holds that risk of future fraudulent charge on credit card sufficient to withstand motion to dismiss
During the 2013 holiday season, Neiman Marcus, like many other retailers, discovered that its payment card systems had been compromised and customers’ credit and debit card information was potentially stolen. The rush to the courthouse began, and multiple class action lawsuits were filed and later consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois under the caption Remijas v. The Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, Case No. 14-cv-1735. Alleged damages included, among others, unauthorized charges on credit and debit cards, the risk of future fraudulent charges and greater susceptibility to identity theft.
Neiman Marcus filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion to dismiss exclusively on standing grounds, holding that the injuries alleged by plaintiffs were not sufficiently concrete. The plaintiffs appealed. On July 20, 2015, the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that the plaintiffs had shown a substantial risk of immediate harm sufficient to afford them standing to sue. Read more at National Law Review....
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A Best Buy employee in San Mateo, CA alerted sheriff's deputies on Wednesday to four men, all from the east coast, who tried to used fraudulent credit cards make purchases.
Police made a traffic stop just outside the parking lot, and the men denied having been in the store.
Deputies discovered hundreds of fake gift cards and credit cards, equipment used to manufacture the fraudulent cards, 131 new iPhone 6's, phone accessories, two MacBook Pros and high-end male clothing.
The men were arrested and booked into the San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of commercial burglary, identity theft, fraudulent use of access cards, manufacturing false access cards, possession of access cards with the intent to defraud, and conspiracy.
The suspects have been identified as Edwin Fernandez, 23, from Quincy, MA., Elijah Clarke, 20, from Middletown, NY., Musa Kanuteh, 29, from Bronx, NY. and Mitchell Malachi, 26 from Fayetteville, GA.
LifeLock -- the security company that famously touted its identity-theft protection services by flaunting its CEO's Social Security number in ads (only to then see his identity stolen) -- is again feeling the heat from the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC, which agreed to a $12 million settlement with LifeLock in 2010 over deceptive-practices charges, said in court documents filed Tuesday that the company is continuing to make misleading claims about its service.
LifeLock offers consumers identity-theft protection plans for $10, $20 and $30 a month, as well as plans for businesses. But the FTC alleges that LifeLock failed to create and maintain "a comprehensive information security program" to protect customer data such as credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers.
The commission also said LifeLock falsely claimed in ads that it provided customers with the same sort of protections used by financial institutions, and that from at least January 2012 through December of last year, the company "falsely claimed it protected consumers' identity 24/7/365 by providing alerts 'as soon as' it received any indication there was a problem." Continue reading on CNET....
When top state law enforcement officers gather in Maui for the annual three-day convention of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) July 19-22, a critical component of the discussion will be the need to curb the burgeoning problem of medical identity theft.
The western attorneys general should give cybersecurity the serious attention it deserves, if for no other reason that it is growing fastest in their front yard, the Pacific and Western region of our country. According to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance's (MIFA) Fifth Annual Study of Medical Identity Theft, the Pacific-West region saw its share of the nation's medical identity theft cases rise to 17 percent of the nation's total in fiscal 2014, up from just 11 percent two years earlier. The corresponding shares in the other five regions of the nation's total number of medical identity theft cases either held steady or were up or down only slightly.
Earlier this year, an estimated 18,000 current and former members of the Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest health insurer, discovered their personal information had been stolen during a cyberattack on Anthem Inc., a Blue Cross-Blue Shield plan that serves residents of 14 states. According to the MIFA study, medical identity theft nationally rose nearly 22 percent in the previous year, an increase of nearly a half-million victims since 2013. In 2014 alone, medical ID theft cost consumers more than $20 billion in out-of-pocket costs.
All forms of identity theft (e.g., bank account fraud and credit card fraud) can be costly to those who fall victim to it, but medical identity theft potentially can be life-threatening as well. Continue reading at the Maui News....
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ORLANDO -- A stolen vehicle's OnStar technology helped Orlando police dismantle an identity theft ring that has already claimed more than 1,800 victims, authorities said Monday.
An 85-year-old man called Orlando police last week to report his credit card was fraudulently used by someone using the name Chrystie Hall to rent a vehicle from Thrifty Car Rental, which is located at the Orlando International Airport.
The man's card was charged about $4,000, a release states.
Orlando police investigators confirmed the vehicle was fraudulently rented, reported it stolen and then used the vehicle's OnStar, which placed it at Robinson Street and Magnolia Avenue in downtown Orlando.
Police located the vehicle and two suspects: Xavier Stephens, 27, and Bridgett Bennifield, 38.
Stephens had a backpack with numerous credit card documents inside. Bennifield had a purse with numerous credit cards in it.
According to police, the documents appeared to be reservations for travel and included arrival dates, lengths of stay, hotel information, names of guests, dates of birth and full credit card information with the expiration date and security numbers.
Stephens was in possession of 1,787 reservation documents and Bennifield had 68 reservation documents, police said. Continue reading at MyNews13....
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A spate of high-profile data breaches have brought worries about identity theft to a fever pitch. But consumers may be overlooking a risk that's much closer to home.
Concerns that your information could be compromised are justified. Through mid-July, there have been 424 data breaches compromising more than 129.6 million records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, affecting targets as varied as the Internal Revenue Service, the insurance company Anthem and, most recently, the adultery site Ashley Madison.
Last year, the center reports, the number of data breaches hit a record high of 783, up 27.5 percent from 2013. Javelin Strategy & Research estimated that fraud and identity theft damages that year (including but not limited to such breaches) totaled $16 billion and affected 12.7 million people.
Tracy, a health-care worker in Kentucky, is among those victims. The thief who stole her Social Security number opened several new cards in her name last year, racking up $1,500 in purchases and pushing one account past its credit limit. Another debt, owed to an online retailer, was sent to collections.
The catch? Tracy, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy concerns, wasn't victimized by some nameless, faceless hacker.
Her husband was the culprit. Read more at CNBC....
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Citibank and one of its subsidiaries to pay $700 million in relief to more than 8.8 million consumers for engaging in a string of illegal credit card practices, including deceptively marketing and billing for debt protection and credit monitoring services, and misrepresenting fees related to debt collection actions.
In all, the CFPB estimates seven million consumer accounts were affected by Citibank’s deceptive marketing, billing, and administration of debt protection and credit monitoring add-on products, while one of its subsidiaries deceptively charged expedited payment fees to nearly 1.8 million consumer accounts during collection calls.
According to the CFPB complaint [PDF], from at least 2003 through 2012, Citibank and its subsidiaries – Department Stores National Bank and Citicorp Credit Services, Inc. – allegedly used deceptive means to market and enroll consumers in five debt protection add-on products, four identity theft add-on services and one credit monitoring add-on product.
The debt protection products – AccountCare, Balance Protector, Credit Protection, Credit Protector, and Payment Safeguard – were advertised to account holders as allowing the cancellation of a consumer’s balance, or deferment of the payment due date, if the consumer experienced certain hardships, such as job loss, disability, hospitalization, and certain life events, such as marriage or divorce.
The identity theft add-ons, called IdentityMonitor, DirectAlert, PrivacyGuard, and Citi Credit Monitoring Services, offered credit-monitoring or credit-report-retrieval services, while another product called Watch-Guard Preferred, was advertised as a wallet-protection service that notified credit and debit card issuers if the consumers reported a card lost or stolen. Continue reading at The Consumerist....
A dating website that helps married people cheat has been hit by hackers who threatened to release information about millions of customers. Ashley Madison, which uses the advertising slogan "Life is short. Have an affair," said Monday it had been attacked and some user data was stolen.
So far, though, it isn't easy to find the exposed cheaters online. That could change soon if the hackers decide to publish the information on a public website.
Brian Krebs, the blogger who first reported the breach, said the hackers were threatening to release all Ashley Madison's customer records if the website isn't shut down.
The hackers called themselves the "Impact Team," and the potential release includes "profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails." Continue reading at CNN....
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Vietnamese national Hieu Minh Ngo sentenced to 13 years in prison for masterminding identity theft ring
July 16 -- A Vietnamese man was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Concord to 13 years in prison for hacking into U.S. businesses' computers, stealing personal data from approximately 200 million U.S. residents, and selling that data to cyber criminals around the globe.
Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Feith of the District of New Hampshire and of the U.S. Secret Service announced Wednesday that Hieu Minh Ngo, 25, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Paul J. Barbadoro of the District of New Hampshire to 13 years in prison. Ngo pleaded guilty to federal charges brought in the District of New Hampshire and the District of New Jersey, including wire fraud, identity fraud, access device fraud and four counts of computer fraud and abuse.
"This case demonstrates that identity theft is a worldwide threat that has the potential to touch every one of us," said Feith. "I want to acknowledge the excellent work of the United States Secret Service in identifying and capturing Mr. Ngo. This case proves that the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Hampshire will work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute identity thieves, even if they are halfway around the world."
"From his home in Vietnam, Ngo used Internet marketplaces to offer for sale millions of stolen identities of U.S. citizens to more than a thousand cyber criminals scattered throughout the world," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division in a statement. "Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Identifying and prosecuting cyber criminals like Ngo is one of the ways we're working to change that cost-benefit analysis."
"The sentencing of this transnational cyber criminal illustrates another example of Secret Service success in the disruption and dismantling of global criminal networks," said U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy in a statement. "This investigation and the resulting prosecution and sentencing should serve as a warning to criminals that we will relentlessly investigate, detect, and defend the Nation's financial infrastructure. This sentencing joins a long list of successes in combating financial crimes over our 150 year history."
Ngo pleaded guilty March 3, 2013, in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to wire fraud, identification fraud and fraud in connection with access devices and last month to a separate indictment on four counts of computer fraud. Ngo was involved in a data breach involving a subsidiary of Experian Plc that exposed the Social Security numbers of some 200 million people -- potentially including Granite State residents -- to possible criminal activity. Continue reading at Security Info Watch....
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They didn't mean to do it.
Not the scholarship funds, alumni associations or garden clubs.
Not the nonprofit hospitals, union groups or corporate foundation arms.
Yet more than 130,000 tax-exempt organizations unwittingly leaked hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers belonging to unsuspecting board members, donors, employees and college students.
“Our concern is really making sure that it doesn't happen again,” said a Pennsylvania nonprofit spokeswoman, stunned to learn from the Tribune-Review that her organization was one of them.
NO HACKING REQUIRED
Identity thieves don't need hacking skills or sophisticated scheming to steal from this body of sensitive information: More than 630,000 Social Security numbers — including tens of thousands of numbers of Pennsylvanians — have become public record inadvertently on tax-exempt Form 990 filings with the Internal Revenue Service since 2001, according to independent audits and documents the Trib obtained. Names and addresses also appear. Armed with such data, identity thieves can apply for credit, file fraudulent tax returns and more. Continue reading at the Pittsburgh Tribune....
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A Research Study Conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc. Commissioned by LegalShield
ABOUT THE STUDY
This study of full-time employees in the U.S. was conducted over the Internet. A national probability sample of males and females aged 18 to 64 was drawn from American Consumer Opinion® Online, Decision Analyst’s worldwide panel of over eight million consumers. The sample was balanced by geography and selected demographics such as gender, age, ethnicity, and household income. Panelists were invited by email to the screening survey, and those employed full-time were invited to Decision Analyst’s DAISurvey™ website to participate in the study.
A total of 1,000 interviews were completed online from September 20 through September 26, 2012.
ABOUT DECISION ANALYST
Decision Analyst is one of the largest marketing research and analytical consulting firms in North America, and serves an array of Fortune 500 companies around the world. The firm specializes in strategy research, product testing, advertising testing, and marketing optimization using advanced simulation techniques. The firm is headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
57 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE LEGAL ISSUES (THAT’S A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE)
The Legal Needs Of American Families Study (Legal Needs Study) shows that working Americans and their families face a myriad of legal issues on almost a daily basis. The study shows that 57 million full-time working Americans experienced at least one significant legal event in the past 12 months, but only 60% of those who experienced such an event actually sought out the services of a lawyer to help them.
The areas of greatest need identified in the survey include auto and traffic issues such as traffic tickets and accidents, family issues such as adoption and divorce, and estate planning concerns such as wills, trusts, and estate or inheritance management.
The Legal Needs Study also shows that legal problems know no economic boundaries. All income levels experience legal issues or events at about the same rate – 66%.
Top 25 Legal Issues/ Problems
MANY AMERICANS GO IT ALONE
The Legal Needs Study shows that Americans forgo or avoid legal help because of cost, access and trust issues. According to survey results,
93% of respondents believe lawyers charge too much for their services.
Respondents reported paying an average hourly rate of $284, with nearly 25% paying in excess of $400 per hour. Additionally, nearly 20% did not know their attorney’s hourly rate.
Seventy-two percent of respondents believe that most lawyers are difficult to reach by phone and 63% believe that most lawyers are not responsive. An overwhelming
76% of respondents said that they were hesitant to call a lawyer.
74% said they dread the thought of talking to a lawyer, and 72% said that most lawyers will try to take advantage of you.
The Legal Needs Study also indicates that Americans have a difficult time finding a qualified attorney to help them. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported that they did not know a lawyer to call prior to needing one. The remainder said they found an attorney randomly through an online search, the Yellow Pages, or through some sort of advertising.
10 CRITICAL ISSUES FACED WITHOUT ATTORNEY ASSISTANCE
LEGAL SERVICE PLANS OFFER A SOLUTION
Despite facing significant legal issues on a regular basis, the Legal Needs Study shows that few Americans are proactive in taking steps to get the legal protection they need for themselves and their families.
9 out of 10 respondents said if cost were more affordable, they would seek legal advice for even trivial issues such as a traffic ticket or the review of a rental agreement.
At the same time, however,
Nearly 90% of Americans say they don’t have any form of legal insurance or legal protection service that could make getting qualified legal help easy and affordable.
Even more troubling is the fact that two-thirds of Americans say they have never heard of any such plans or services.
When asked if they would be willing to pay $20 per month to have unlimited access to qualified attorneys at an accomplished law firm for advice and counsel on legal issues – no matter how serious or trivial
More than 60% reported they would be interested in purchasing legal protection.
This number increased to 70% when a 50/50 split in cost with their employer was factored in.
This figure is significant to employers, considering that
66% of respondents reported they had to take at least one day off from work in the past year to deal with one or more legal issues.
Respondents reported that they had better peace of mind and were less distracted at work when they had a legal protection plan in place.
However, only 13% of these working Americans and families have some type of legal service through work, and of that group 93% responded that they are satisfied with their jobs with this benefit being one of the reasons.
Of the respondents who have a legal benefits plan, an average of 75% are very satisfied with their coverage.
70% of respondents with a legal benefits plan said they use the service more than three times per year.
WORRY LESS. LIVE MORE.
LegalShield’s Legal Needs of American Families Study shows that we face legal issues on almost a daily basis and the barriers of cost, confusion, and trust limit the access to the legal help we need.
LegalShield removes these barriers and empowers its member by giving them uncomplicated and affordable access to the legal assistance they need to protect themselves and their families.
Today, LegalShield provides legal services to 1.4 million families covering 3.5 million lives across North America.
More than 34,000 companies offer the LegalShield plan to their employees as a voluntary benefit.
For a low monthly fee, LegalShield members get access to qualified attorneys who are experts in the areas of law that most impact families and small businesses.
LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 49 states and 4 provinces in Canada.
The attorneys have been with their respective law firms for an average of 19 years and have the expertise and experience to navigate members through a variety of everyday legal issues such as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes, and auto/driving issues.
LAST YEAR ALONE, LEGALSHIELD FIRMS RECEIVED MORE THAN 2.1 MILLION CALLS FROM ITS MEMBERS.
This article is reprinted from the LegalShield website.
For more information about LegalShield or to become a member, click here.
A first-of-its kind lawsuit that resumes in a U.S. District Court on Tuesday has drawn attention to the private surveillance-technology industry as a potential enabler of spying on Americans. The case involves a U.S. citizen who alleges that “clandestine computer programs” assumed “what amounts to complete control” over his personal computer and relayed copies of his electronic activity — including Skype calls, Internet searches and emails — to the Ethiopian government.
Kidane — the pseudonym under which the complainant is known in the case to protect his family from retribution — says his computer was monitored by spyware placed on his computer while he was living in the United States. He is an Ethiopian-born naturalized U.S. citizen who sought asylum in the U.S., where he has lived for more than two decades. His case is being closely watched by activists and civil liberties campaigners because of its potential implications for domestic cybersurveillance by security agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA).
A victory for Kidane “would be a clear statement from a U.S court to say that wiretapping without court authorization is illegal, no matter who does it. And yes, absolutely that would have implications for the NSA,” said his legal counsel, Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“We know that the NSA engages in full content wiretapping … without a court order authorizing it,” he added. “That conduct is simply illegal, and I think a U.S. court order holding Ethiopia responsible for doing the same thing but on a much smaller scale here hopefully would at least raise some eyebrows at the NSA.”
The suit alleges that FinSpy, an intrusion and surveillance program, was transmitted by a Microsoft Word document attachment sent to Kidane’s computer via email by or on behalf of the Ethiopian government. It began targeting Kidane’s machine in late October 2012.
Ethiopia was accused of deploying FinSpy in a March 2013 report by Citizen Lab, an organization that studies surveillance, on the basis of the IP address from which the software was transmitted. The attack on Kidane’s computer was found to have originated from the same server. Days after the Citizen Lab report appeared, the Ethiopian government tried to shut down FinSpy on Kidane’s computer, Cardozo alleged. However, there was a malfunction, and traces of the software remained on his client’s machine.
“We caught the Ethiopian government red-handed,” Cardozo said. Continue reading at AlJazeera America....
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20 Nigerian "princes" arrested, indicted, and extradited to Mississippi to stand trial for fraud and ID theft
Finally, six of those annoying 4-1-9 Nigerian prince email con-men have been arrested, indicted, and extradited, and indictments have been issued for 14 others.
Six Nigerian nationals were extradited from South Africa to Gulfport, Mississippi, to face a nine-count federal indictment in the Southern District of Mississippi alleging various Internet fraud schemes. A total of 20 defendants are charged in this case.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis of the Southern District of Mississippi made the announcement.
Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30; Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31; Olusegun Seyi Shonekan, 33; Taofeeq Olamilekan Oyelade, 30; Olufemi Obaro Omoraka, 26; and Anuoluwapo Segun Adegbemigun, 39, are charged along with 15 others in an Oct. 7, 2014, indictment with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, use of unauthorized account access devices, theft of U.S. government funds and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges stem from the defendants alleged participation in numerous Internet-based complex financial fraud schemes, including romance scams, re-shipping scams, fraudulent check scams and work-at-home scams, as well as bank, financial and credit card account takeovers. Read more at Dark Reading....
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