Hon. Ellen Rosenblum
The transition to an all-digital world is bad for elders — very bad.
Here is just today's plea for help for an elder, the latest edition of something I’m seeing more and more. An astonishing amount more in just the last few years.
A friend of mine has come to me because her elderly aunt has been scammed. Essentially, as I understand it, someone hit her with ransom ware. Then somehow got her on the phone. They said they were ransoming her computer and could use it to drain her bank account. She ultimately was taken for 38k. She is 71 and not particularly savvy. She wants Bank of America to review the charges and reverse or refund them as fraudulent. My guess is the actual scammers are out of reach.
As I understand it, this has been reported to the police and an initial request has been submitted to the bank and denied. She is currently considering submitting a letter to appeal that decision and request reconsideration.
Our laws are inadequate for this. If someone knocked Grandma on the head, she could get some help from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. But because they used her computer and her phone to scam her, Crime Victims Fund won’t even talk to her.
Global internet and phone means every criminal in the world is just as close to and just as able to scam Grandma as the criminals in her town.
We need to devise means by which elders can be protected from these scams, which are proliferating wildly (exponentially).
The cost of running these scams is in the pennies range and the rewards are often in the tens of thousands of dollars.
And the risk to the scammers is zero. Absolutely zero.
We need a huge public education campaign, funded by the banks and credit unions that make this sort of thing possible and that profit greatly by elimination of human staff and moving all account management functions into the Wild Wild West of the lawless internet.
More importantly, we need to require depositary institutions to offer special higher-protection accounts, where consumers can get the main benefits of online accounts but without having to bear all the risk of being able to transfer their nest-egg to the scammers with a mouse-click or phone-check.
These higher-protection accounts would have guardrails built into their settings so that an elder would be unable to make payments to a new payee above a nominal amount without getting the bank’s security personnel involved, so that Grandma is not able to send off her nest egg in the middle of the night to the voice on the phone.
Please work with the legislature to devise laws to help protect Oregon’s seniors from the dark side of the technological wonderland they’ve found themselves in.
Just sent the email below to Attorney General Rosenblum. I invite anyone who wants to second the motion to send her an email at email@example.com
I got some real nice feedback from the folks who attended a nonprofit training I offered recently, where I was called on a Wednesday to fill in for a speaker who had to withdraw from giving an early morning session on that coming Saturday.
So it was short notice, but I did get to meet a roomful of really nice nonprofit leaders from all over and give them an impromptu course on "Employment Law 101 for Nonprofits."
I wanted to let you know that your breakout session, Employment Law 101 for Nonprofits, at our conference, got overwhelmingly positive remarks on our evaluations. . . . People commented positively on it, and we only had a few sessions that had such a high number when it came to specific remarks.
Wear and tear is normal, but throwing away almost-functional devices shouldn't be. Rather than sending broken items to the landfill or paying companies an arm and a leg to fix them, we think you should have the right to repair your broken devices yourself.
For the past 16 years, we've [iFixit] been helping people do just that. We provide repair manuals, parts, and tools to make it possible to fix broken items on your own terms. But product manufacturers are doing their best to make repair difficult, so that we’re forced to buy new products.
That’s why we need your help, to push for Right To Repair legislation in Oregon.
We’re asking you to tell your state legislators to pass HR2688, which require manufacturers to provide the following:
Call or write your legislator now
I was asked for a bio and it made me realize that I didn't really have a proper bio on my site --
so here's one:
John Gear practices as John Gear Law Office LLC. John obtained his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin in 1984, a Masters of Engineering Management from Washington State University in 1993, and his J.D. (magna cum laude) from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2004. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1978 and left the Navy as a Lieutenant in 1989, having attended the University of Wisconsin on an NROTC scholarship before serving on a submarine based in Pearl Harbor.
After leaving the Navy and then working five years at Westinghouse Hanford Company in Richland, Washington, John became an operations management consultant, applying his expertise in high-reliability power plant operations to more prosaic enterprises and organizations such as businesses and nonprofits.
At age 41, John accepted a full scholarship to law school. Upon graduation he was admitted to practice in Michigan and became a research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals and then a regulatory attorney for the Michigan Public Service Commission. He mistimed the move to Oregon and had to take the bar exam all over again in Oregon in 2007. Three years later, he found his law calling, opening his own practice as “A values-based Oregon law practice serving consumers, elders, employees, and nonprofits.”
Since then, John founded the Oregon State Bar’s Nonprofit Organizations Law Section, served as chair of the Education Committee for the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and he has written or co-written two chapters in OSB attorney practice manuals, one on Consumer Law for Active Duty Military and Veterans and one on “Warranties” in Consumer Law in Oregon.
John lives in Salem with his wife, the Rev. Mary Mangione Gear, and together they work to provide Simon and Lucy, two completely unspoiled cats, with the food and heated blankets they deserve.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Because I see clients who are at risk of or already embroiled in a foreclosure, I see a lot more of the dark and ugly side of mortgage borrowing than the average person does.
So I'm not at all convinced that our so-called "American Dream" of home ownership as an aspiration for everyone is a good idea. And I urge anyone thinking about buying property to do your homework very carefully, so that you as well informed and aware of the risks as you already are of the benefits.
That said, if you are a vet and have decided that buying rather than renting is for you, you should definitely know about the home loan option available through ODVA.
John Gear is a Salem attorney.