Some shady folks look at disasters and see dollar signs. Oregon DOJ has some useful information to help you keep from becoming a victim to those folks. You can download them below.
No Veteran Should Be Without a Place to Call Home
Free Help for Homeless Veterans Dial 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) for 24/7 access to VA services for homeless and at-risk Veterans
Homeless Veteran Chat Confidential, 24/7 online support for homeless Veterans and friends
https://www.va.gov/homeless for more information
Are You a Veteran in Crisis or Concerned About One?
Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? Make the Connection Resource Locator
Contact the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and press 1, Chat, or Text 838255.)
"Spear Phishing" or just "Phishing" is the term for email-based internet attacks by scammers where they trick you into clicking on a seemingly safe link or attachment in an email and that then causes all hell to break loose. There is pretty much no limit to the kinds of nasty things that can result, from infecting your computer and remailing the attack to everyone in your address book to locking up your computer entirely unless you pay thousands in ransom.
There's no easy answer to protect yourself. The open nature of email means that anyone who has your address (or has a computer capable of generating millions of addresses randomly) can send you a spear phishing email.
Thus, the only real solution is learning to be extremely skeptical of any emails you weren't expecting and always remembering to keep your hands away from the mouse -- that is, DO NOT CLICK on any unexpected email links or attachments unless and until you have verified (preferably from a trusted person known to you) that you aren't about to do the internet version of stepping on a land mine.
Today I got a pretty formidable phishing example that made me think the scammers are getting better all the time. And this one was extra potent because I have been dealing with First American Title lately. The scammers don't know that -- they sent this to millions of people, and of millions of people, some share of them are going to be dealing with any large company (such as First American, or Chase Bank, etc.). See below.
Luckily, the scammers are still not fully up to par -- and I know that September only has 30 days (the "9/31" was what first tipped me off to the fact that this email was just another scammer trying to make a buck at my expense). There are many other, more subtle, clues that this is a fraud (notice that there is no city or state in the address block for "Carin Wear," to name just one).
But, even with those errors, this is several times more convincing than the phishing attacks I used to get, and it suggests that it's just a matter of time until I am fooled.
The only thing that will protect me then is if I remember to stop before clicking and to get on the phone and call the local branch of whatever institution is supposedly sending me this email, and verify verify verify before clicking anything.
So, I urge you to join me in my rule: Assume any unsolicited or unexpected email is a ticking time bomb just hoping to explode on you. So never click attachments. Contact the supposed sender (NOT using the contact info in the email), and ask that the files be shared another way.
Straight Talk: Don’t fall for foreclosure rescue scams
More Proof that Companies Use Forced Arbitration Because They Want to Evade the Law, not "streamline" it
Reuters carries a good "hoist on their own petard" story about textbook company CHEGG, which imposes a forced arbitration clause on students using its products. When CHEGG's negligence exposed the sensitive financial information of thousands of students, some filed suit, and CHEGG obtained a ruling that they all had to be kicked out of court and go file in arbitration.
And guess what, more than 15,000 of them did.
Suddenly CHEGG sees the wisdom of class actions, which allow people with similar cases to band together to have one procedure determine the result for all, at far less expense. Except that CHEGG also imposed a class action ban along with its forced arbitration clause!
So now CHEGG is trying to evade the $7.5 million arbitration filing fee it agreed to pay for all those students it forced to file arbitration demands.
More proof (as if more was needed at this point) that companies don't use forced arbitration for any of the reasons they claim they do -- it's not "better for our customers" or any of that crap these companies like to spew. They use forced arbitration because, most often, consumers will throw up their hands and walk away, letting the wrongdoers keep their ill-gotten gains.
But in this case, CHEGG's greed is going to get the better of them. Good.
The background: As I told you in May, the plaintiff firm Z Law filed a class action in 2019 on behalf of millions of Chegg customers whose personal information was allegedly compromised in a 2018 data breach. Chegg’s lawyers at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe moved to compel arbitration, citing a mandatory arbitration provision in the user agreement its customers are required to accept. In April 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett of Baltimore granted Chegg’s motion.
Nice resource for Oregon Legal Research - Integrated, Readable Online Statutes and Administrative Rules
Coder-turned-Attorney Robb Shector has further enhanced his first big online laws project from his law school days, the excellent online Oregon statutes depository (Oregonlaws.org). Robb has made that even more valuable by coming up with a way to provide a very smooth integration with the statutes from his version of the online Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs). Robb's OARs database now provides hotlinks to statutes so you can easily go check the statutes as you are researching the rules and then easily return to the rules.
You can see Robb's administrative rules set here: https://oregon.public.law/rules (photo below of the entry page).
Having worked with others (I don't have the technical chops to do the coding myself) to bring readable OARs to Oregonians for a long time (see OregonAdminRules.org tab at top of page), I know Robb put in an awful lot of work.
Hats off to Robb for bringing this home at last. It's pathetic that the State of Oregon publishes statutes and rules in such a poorly designed format (all left-justified text that is all but impossible to use without extensive manual reformatting).
It would require little or nothing by the state to give Oregonians these important publications in a clear, always-up-to-date, easy to use form, as Robb has shown.
The Governor has wisely ordered that any Oregonian's CARES check be free from garnishments by creditors (except for restitution garnishments for criminal justice debts) during the COVID-19 emergency. The top picture is the key provision. If you want the full text and all the details and definitions, the full order is shown below that and you can download it by clicking on the down-facing arrow.
Kudos to Gov. Brown for acting to help Oregon families survive this crisis in this critical period.
The good people at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC.org) are constantly tracking and updating reliable information about the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have put together a document with list of frequently asked questions about the $1200 payments, including the most common one about whether these payments are vulnerable to garnishments) (#7 below).
I would bookmark their FAQ page and their more comprehensive COVID-19 page if you have other questions.
FAQs on Stimulus Payments
Outstanding FREE Online Resource "SURVIVING DEBT" to read if you are struggling financially due to COVID-19 (or for any other reason)
The heroes at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC.org) have made their comprehensive 50th Anniversary guide for debtors called “Surviving Debt” available at no charge for ANYONE.
This is an outstanding resource for ordinary folks who don’t want to try to read law books or statutes etc. It’s in clear, plain English. I have given away more than two dozen copies to friends and clients and it’s usually the first book I reach for when someone has a question about how to manage their debts of ANY kind.
While you isolate in place, if you are worried at all about your finances, take the time to read the first 10 short chapters and then the chapters for your type of debts. So you don't have to read it all -- just the first couple chapters and then the chapters that pertain to your type of problem.
(And if you yourself are able to make a contribution to NCLC, they would welcome it and put it to good use.)
Find it here: https://library.nclc.org/SD
John Gear Law Office -
LAWYERLY FINE PRINT:
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