What a sad situation for mother and child

We often assume that people’s rights are a given fact.  We think that our rights are protected at all times but this is not the case as this  Dan Rather report shows.  All to often our rights depend on whether or not we can afford to enforce them.

In this report I noticed that in many of the cases it came down to resources, the unwed mothers did not have them available.  Sadly this is happening on a global scale, including here in North America.  The parental rights of mothers are being ignored through forced adoptions.

As a mother I can’t imagine being forced or coerced into giving up my child.  But these women have experienced exactly that.  LegalShield can take care of one of the issues this report brings to light, the lack of resources.  LegalShield provides you with affordable legal access.  Perhaps in the case of these mothers an attorney could have prevented the situation through a simple contract or document review, or even have prevented some of the mothers from signing the paperwork when they were drugged or exhausted after labor.

Would you believe?

There was a time when our airwaves were not clogged with attorneys trolling for clients for class action lawsuits?  Today you cannot turn on the television without seeing a commercial for a class action lawsuit for this drug or that drug.  Class action suits mean big paydays for the attorneys who handle them.  What I rarely see is the attorney who advertises for clients with the intent to help clients prevent major problems.

Attorneys  can help you prevent a molehill turning into a mountain, but that means addressing legal issues before they snowball out of control.   Let me give you an example.  You want to do some work on your home, maybe add on an addition.

You call in a contractor to do the work.  Soon you have a nice new room but the first time it rains the roof leaks.  The contractor comes back out, goes up on the roof and stays there for about an hour comes back down and tells you it is fixed.  A few months later and it is leaking again.  How long will you go through this cycle?  When will you get fed up and call in someone different to fix what should have been done right in the beginning?

Having an attorney involved on your behalf could mean the difference in the contractor fixing the problem so that your roof does not leak again or the contractor coming out and doing a patch job that eventually fails.  This is one of the many benefits of a LegalShield membership.  You have attorneys to help you now instead of waiting until the problem becomes a major one.

Rolling in red tape?

Red tape.  I’m sure we all recognize that phrase.  We’ve probably all encountered the red tape phenomenon somewhere along the line.  It’s constantly used to comedic effect in movies and television.

The movie Beetlejuice used the ‘take a number’ gag.  It can be annoying to walk into an overflowing waiting room and having number ‘199’ when the board is showing “Now serving #19”.  You realize that you are stuck waiting for the entire day to take care of an issue that might take 10 minutes.

But one of my favorite examples comes from the television show LEXX.  It really plays up just how frustrating bureaucracy can be.  The Dead Divine assassin Kai, ends up getting dragged before an adjudication committee.


Kai rightly figures out that the end result of all the ‘adjudicating’ will be a punishment and at the outset requests that the adjudicating be skipped and asks to be thrown from the top of the city.   Request denied.  What ensues from there is a stream constant redundant bureaucratic hijinks which even drives a dead man to frustration.

The thing is much of the red tape we encounter is in response to laws or rules that the different organizations we deal with may be bound by.   Often those that seem to be tangling us up in the red tape are just as stymied themselves by procedure.  Not to mention that we can often cause the red tape tangle ourselves by a lack of experience in dealing with something.  We fill out the wrong form, file with the wrong department, etc.  Something as minor as placing the correct information in the wrong spot can start red tape rolling.

Well we can’t do anything about procedure, but we can do something about our own actions by making sure we are doing our part correctly.  How do we make sure we do our part correctly?  We get advice from someone who knows the laws and understands the documents.  We can consult with an attorney.

Just turn on the television and watch all the commercials from attorneys looking for people who have been turned down for Social Security or disability.  All the attorneys looking for people who owe back taxes to the IRS and all of the other various things these attorneys advertising.   LegalShield provides its members with unlimited consultation on any legal issue.  Even if you are not sure you have a legal issue, you can consult with an attorney to help you determine if you do have a legal issue.

Bureaucracy is annoying.  Dealing with it yourself can be like setting sail on the Atlantic Ocean with no map.  Doesn’t it make more sense to to have the help of of an experienced ‘legal navigator’ when you set of to sail the ‘Sea of Red Tape’?

Who you gonna call?

Accidents happen.  When they do we automatically think call an ambulance and call the police.  We never think call our lawyer.

Why call a lawyer?  When the police get there you are giving them a statement.  That’s right a statement that goes on the police report.  We all have the right to consult with an attorney before giving any statement to the police.  It’s just not something that we think about in this situation.

What if there are no injuries, it is just a minor fender bender?  how should you handle the situation?  Once again, consult with an attorney who can tell you the best way to handle it.  The attorney can help you determine whether or not you should report it to your insurance company or handle it privately.

LegalShield allows you access to an attorney in situations like this.  You can get advice to help you protect your rights and figure out the best way to handle this legal issue.

Sorry Bill doesn’t live here

Usually when a client calls me to ask the question “What do I do?” it’s because they need to use their membership and are not sure how to go about it or even if they should call.  My advice is always to use the membership and let the attorneys handle legal issues and the Investigators for Identity Theft Shield answer their identity theft questions but this morning I was stunned by a client asking me a different question.

It seems my client is the recipient of email meant for someone else.  Not a single email but several.  These email are being sent to her from a phone service provider.  When she received the first one, she tried to contact the person that it was meant for and called the phone number that had been provided for the intended recipient.  Guess what? she got another email letting her know that the intended recipient now had a message to pick up.

You would think this is a minor thing but…The email contains everything a thief would need to steal the intended recipient’s identity, all of their personal information.  Name, address, phone number, account number etc.  Not good.

She told me that she although she understood identity theft, she never understood exactly how easy it was to steal someone’s identity.  This company handed someone elses’ information to her on a silver platter.   This triggering a bit of thinking on her part.  Who else is getting all this information sent to them?  Are they honest?  What companies has sent out her information to the wrong person.

She is very thankful right now to have her LegalShield and Identity Theft Shield memberships.  She now realizes just how easy it is for her identity to be stolen and is relieved to know that she is covered when the wrong person gets their hands on her information.

Identity theft victims suffer an emotional toll too

Identity theft is a crime.  People who are the victims of crime often have a mental reaction to that crime.  Identity theft is no different.  Identity theft victims are put through all sorts of stressful situations.

Imagine finding out you do not have the money to pay your rent or mortgage, going to jail and spending the night in a cell for something you did not do.  Going to the hospital for treatment and finding out your insurance is exhausted.  Identity theft victims face all of these situations on a regular basis.

Indentity theft can be a source of great emotional trauma, especially when you clear up one thing only to find that there is yet another problem to be dealt with and having that happen over and over again over a period of weeks or even years.  That is the emotional toll an identity theft victim can face.

Because identity theft is not a violent crime, victims can often find that their issues are overlooked or that others around them expect them to simply ‘suck it up’.  People who have never experienced it don’t understand that the victim’s  sense of violation is just as real as the mugging victim.

The Identity Theft Resource Center has put together a guide for Identity theft victims to help in overcoming the emotional impact.  The fact sheet can be found here.

One way to ease a bit of the stress is to be prepared and have help available that you can turn to before you become a victim.  Having something that will kick in and take a bit of the burden off of your shoulders.  This is one area where LegalShield can help.  Through the Identity Theft Shield you have investigators that will work with you to restore your identity.

Driving while…

There’s a well-known term in the African-American community, DWB.  DWB means Driving While Black and it happens regularly.  The term refers to Racial Profiling the idea that certain groups of people are more likely to commit crimes than other groups.  How do I know it happens? I have been a victim of DWB.

Several years ago, my mother and I were traveling from San Antonio TX back to Florida.  Just outside of the Beaumont city limits, I noticed a marked police cruiser in traffic.  I wasn’t speeding and unlike most driver’s, I don’t have any fear of passing a cop who is not doing the speed limit.  So I passed him.

I suppose I should add that IH-10 is the major East West highway in the southern part of the U.S. running from Los Angeles, CA to Jacksonville FL and it passes through San Antonio, TX.  This is importantant because the Major North-South highway, IH 35 crosses IH 10 in San Antonio.  IH 35 runs from Laredo, TX on the Mexican border to Duluth MN where travelers can easily cross into Canada.  Cops understand the significance of this intersection of highways Drugs brought in from Mexico can easily be distributed nationwide using these highways.  But back to my experience.

When I passed the police unit, not speeding mind you; the officer immediately pulled out into the left lane behind me.  The maneuver was so abrupt, I thought perhaps he had received a call.  I was working at the time for the police department so this was my way of thinking.  As soon as I could move over to get out of his way I did so which triggered the blue lights.  Yes, I was being pulled over.

The traffic stop started with license, registration and step out of the car.  The officer’s partner immediately approached the passenger side of the vehicle where my mother was sitting while Officer number one began questioning me about where I had been, what I had done while there and where I was going.  This was prior to me becoming a member of LegalShield, which allows you 24 hour access to an attorney in these situations.

I was questioned at the rear of the vehicle for about five minutes when officer 2 came back and took over the conversation putting an end to the questioning.  Oh and he gave me a very flimsy excuse for why I had been pulled over.  It seems when I got into the right lane to allow them to pass I was ‘too close’ to the panel van in front of me, but I did immediately back off correcting the situation.  I later found out that my mother had not only informed officer two that I was a Police Department employee, but had challenged the officer to call my department and speak with my Chief.

The real reason that I was pulled over?  I was a black woman driving a nondescript car with Florida plates coming from a known drug distribution area.  The officer was so busy questioning me, he never even checked my Driver’s License and registration. I was Racially profiled.

But the Profiling does not stop with race, there are many other forms of profiling:

DWY-Driving While Young as teenagers are targeted

DANCIABN-Driving a Nice Car in a Bad Neighborhood

DABCIANN-Driving a Bad Car in a Nice Neighborhood

DWF-Driving While Female

DWE-Driving While Elderly

The list goes on and on.  Most cops are honest hardworking individuals but like any other group it does have it’s bad apples; those who  see this as a way to legally display their own prejudice, and those who have ‘good intent’ but go about it the wrong way not seeing or realizing what they are doing.

Today I am a member of  LegalShield in addition to being an associate.  I don’t have to worry about being profiled because I know any hour, day or night all I have to do is grab my cell phone and call the LegalShield hotline for help.

Here’s a new hit song for identity thieves!

This song is blowing up the Top Ten on the Identity Identity Theft Hit Parade!  Da Dumpster Dive!  These guys may be diving in for old Kool Aid and Bagels, but Identity thieves dive in for a different reason.

By now most of us are understanding the need to shred our old personal documents.  An in home shredder is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  And we know that it needs to be DOD Approved and not a ribbon shredder.  Ribbon shredders just create jigsaw puzzles for identity thieves, strips can be pieced back together to harvest information.  With individual getting more savvy about the destruction of information, your home trash is much less attractive to identity thieves than this item.

Why are dumpsters so attractive to identity thieves?  Well you always find dumpsters near businesses.  Businesses gather all sorts of personal information from their clients and customers.   Names, addresses, phone numbers, account numbers and the list goes on.  And businesses do not always follow the law when it comes to disposal on this information.

It is a fairly common event to turn on your local news to see a report about files dumped in dumpsters.   Honest people come across these files and report it to news reporters, police or others and it ends up on your evening news.  For every honest person that reports the situation, how many dishonest people are taking the information for nefarious purposes.

Personal information found in dumpsters is a gold mine.  The thief does not have to use you information personally.  There is a huge black market out there for personal information and the thieves know this.  They can make a fortune selling what they find in these dumpsters.

If a business you have dealt with improperly disposes of your personal information in a dumpster, and a thief gets his hands on it; well that information can be sold as many times as the thief wants.  Multiple people can buy and use your information.  This is why it is important to have a plan, to be able to react quickly and at any time to respond to identity theft issues.

He’s dead, he won’t care

On a traditional Catholic calendar  October 31st through November 2nd are all holidays.  October 31st needs no explanation All Hallows Eve or Halloween is quite notable.  That makes November 1st All Hallows Day, Better known as All Saint’s Day.  November 1st is set aside to honor the many saints of the church.  That only leaves November 2nd.

November 2nd is not really observed in the U.S. except in ares where there is a large Hispanic population.  November 2nd is All Souls Day, better known in Mexico as Dia de los Muertos-Day of the Dead.

The Day of the Dead/All Souls Day, is a day to honor and remember those who have passed on.  Being today is the Day of the Dead, It is an appropriate day for me to honor and remember the dead in my own way.   By telling you about a practice that dishonors our departed loved ones.  It is called Ghosting and it is one of the first widely used forms of identity theft.  Ghosting is simply taking over the identity of someone who has died.

Classic Ghosting

There was a time when governments did not document births or deaths.  It fell to families and churches to record this information through family bibles, baptismal records or church membership registries.  That meant that the information on births and deaths was only available locally.  Identity thieves only needed to worry about a few things to successfully ghost someone. They needed to be the same sex and race as the deceased and close to the same age.  All they had to do was go to a different location and establish themselves as the deceased.

Modern Ghosting

When Government began to be more effective at recording vital statistics, Classic Ghosting became much harder.  Today it is almost impossible.  Ghosting still occurs today but in a different form.

Today ghosting is all about using the information of the deceased to commit financial identity theft or Social Security Identity Theft.  Yes we do have what is called the Death Master File to prevent it from happening but it can take years for the deceased to be added to the file.

A Well known victim of Modern Ghosting is the Late Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain.  Kurt Cobain died in 1994 yet his social security number was allegedly used in 2007 to purchase a $3.2 million home in New Jersey.

Identity thieves will target anyone even our loved ones who have passed on.  When you lose someone you love, they can no longer protect themselves.  It is up to us to protect them.   or for us to take steps to protect ourselves before we pass on.  Talking to an attorney now about what you can  do as a part of your estate planning would be a good first step.

Think it can’t happen to you?

Even cartoon characters end up in court.  Wile E Coyote, Genius has been brought before the bench although in WIle’s case it was probably deserved.  After all he has been harassing the Roadrunner for decades

The point is simply this.  Anyone of us could be facing a lawsuit at any time, deserved or not.  Just take a few minutes to scan some of the doozies on the Gavel2Gavel website.

A small sampling of what can be found there:

*A man sued Pepsi when they refused to redeem his points for a Harrier jet as shown on a television commercial.

*A man filed suit against Satan and his staff.

*A woman sued a Circus after a performing horse mistook her for a toilet.

And there’s much more Legal lunacy to be found on this site.