Mobile Identity Theft – Prevention Tips

Mobile Identity theft is scaling new heights. Not only this, it is expected to grow considerably. The primary reason for it is the soaring use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. According to the statistics, there is a new case of identity theft every 10 minutes. The number is expected to grow in the coming years given the use of smartphones and tablets.

In order to understand what mobile identity theft is, it is important first to understand the concept of identity theft.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is regarded as a serious criminal offence. It is a situation in which, a person fraudulently passes another person’s personal information as his own to secure certain benefits. This private and confidential information can include a person’s social security number, credit card number or driving license number etc. As the name of the offence states, the information is not given voluntarily but robbed.

One of the reasons a person steals another’s identity is because the latter might need it to get certain services, merchandise or credit. The second possible reason is to use the credentials which he can use to run up a debt or to mask his crimes by providing false identification to the police. The information can be used to obtain cellular phone services, open a new checking account or to establish a new credit card account.

What is Mobile Identity Theft?

We use our mobile devices for a wide variety of functions. This includes surfing the web, emailing, instant messaging, paying utility bills, banking and shopping. As such, we not only share but also store a large amount of personal data on them. If your mobile falls into the wrong hands, this personal information can be misused; it is either used to steal money or to create a fake identity. Additionally, hackers can access this information by means of tracking softwares and bugs.

Preventing Mobile Identity Theft

The consequences of mobile identity theft are seriously damaging. The effects are long-term and hence, one should take adequate steps to prevent it. Following is a list of tips to protect sensitive information from being robbed.

· Setting a password on your phone is the first step towards protecting yourself against mobile identity theft. Also files containing confidential information must have a further layer of password protection. Names, birth dates and telephone numbers are easy passwords. A strong password is one that includes numbers, alphabets and symbols. Pattern passwords should be changed regularly.

· Set an automatic lock to lock your phone. As such, it should lock automatically when the phone is not in use. In this way, no one will be able to access your phone although it is left unattended and they have an opportunity to do so.

· Along with securing your smartphone, you should also be cautious about where you shop. This implies shopping at secure sites; those that guarantee to protect sensitive information submitted to them. The website URL in the address bar helps tell if a website is secure or not. A secure website has ‘https: //’ instead of ‘http: //’. A secure shopping site also includes the padlock symbol in the URL.

· Secure your smartphone with a good anti-virus program. It protects the system for virus and malware that could possibly be the activity of hackers. Antivirus programs also include a tracking feature that allows you to track the phone if it is lost.

· Financial information should not be shared on an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

· Beware of the apps you download from the internet. The apps should be updated regularly to keep them operating efficiently as well as for security purposes.

Five Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft victims reported losing more than $15 billion in 2014. That’s more than the combined losses from burglary, motor vehicle theft and other property theft in the same period. While it’s no surprise that identity theft can leave you feeling vulnerable, there are things you can do to take some control.

Step 1: Order your credit report when you realize you’ve become a victim. You need to quickly find out about any errors showing up on your report. Go to annualcreditreport.com for free copies of your report from all three nationwide credit-reporting companies-Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

If you see any errors or fraudulent charges, report them to the credit reporting companies right away. They will investigate those items and then forward the information to the business that reported it. The business has 30 days to respond.

If the business providing the loan finds an error, it must notify the credit reporting company so your file can be corrected. If your credit changes because of the business’ investigation, the reporting company will send you a letter with the results.

Step 2: Place a fraud alert to make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. Call any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies and ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. They must contact the other two companies about your alert.

Equifax

1-800-525-6285

Experian

1-800-397-3742

TransUnion

1-800-680-7289

While there’s an alert on your report, anytime a business performs a credit inquiry they will need to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. This may require contacting you, so be sure you’ve updated your credit report with your current contact information. The alert will stay on your report for 90 days and allows you to order an additional free copy of your report from each of the three credit reporting companies.

Step 3: Consider a credit freeze. A Credit Freeze, also known as a Security Freeze, gives you maximum control over who has access to your credit. It can stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name because lenders and other creditors won’t be able to get your credit report.

With a Credit Freeze in place, even you will have to take special steps to apply for credit. You can still open new accounts, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage, or do anything else that requires your credit report. But businesses will need to verify your identity so they may need to contact you and you will have to call the reporting company to lift the freeze in order for the business to review your report. Again, be sure they have your most current information through your credit report.

A few things to know: Due to stringent laws, you’ll have to contact each reporting company separately to place a Credit Freeze. Also, placing a credit freeze does not affect your credit score. Finally, the cost depends on where you live. If you are 65 or older, or a victim of identity theft and submit a valid investigative or incident report, complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the fee will be waived.

Step 4: File an Identity Theft Report. An Identity Theft Report is a great weapon. You can use it to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report; stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft-or from selling the debt to another company for collection. You can also use it to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, and to get information about accounts the identity thief opened or misused.

Filing an Identity Theft Report is simple: Submit a complaint about the theft to the FTC. When you finish writing all the details, print a copy of the report. It will print as an Identity Affidavit.

File a police report about your identity theft, and get a copy of the police report or the report number. (Make sure to bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and attach it to your police report).

Some credit reporting companies may ask for more information or documentation than the Identity Theft Report includes. It depends on the policies of the credit reporting company and the business that sent the information about you to the reporting company.

Step 5: Report fraud on existing accounts. For any of your accounts that show fraudulent charges, contact the business right away. Explain that you’re an identity theft victim. Close the account and follow their reporting process. You can ask if they’ll accept your Identity Theft Report. Additionally, write to the fraud department of each business. By law, they have to review your letter, investigate your complaint, and tell you the results of their investigation. If the information is wrong, the business must tell the credit reporting company. Make sure to ask for a letter from the business confirming that it removed the fraudulent information.

On any credit card or bank account that remains open, take steps to protect yourself. Change your password and place code words on accounts that allow them. Code words are offered on some accounts as an added level of security. You can typically choose your code word. You might consider using something only you would know and is not public knowledge. Finally, continually monitor your accounts, keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity.

Protect Your Identity on the Internet and at Home

The number of people who disregard warnings and spill the beans about themselves on social media and other places are looking to have their identities stolen. One lady recently discovered that her image was being used by a scammer to get money from victims who thought they were communicating with her. While this didn’t affect her personally it allowed a crime to be committed against several people because of her.

Most people won’t use a pseudonym when writing and publishing their stuff on-line, as they want their followers to find them. While that stands there are ways of protecting yourself and other by using old images, instead of up-to-date photos, posting a false birth-date, and giving little personal information.

Everything you post on-line will be available through the Search Engines. That means extreme caution needs to be taken. While the Internet is only one such source of you identity you must be aware of others.

Garbage cans and recycling bins are places where scammers can also get your identity if you are not cautious. Don’t discard bills and letters, and so on, with your personal details displayed on them without shredding them. Envelopes can also contain these things.

When using a bank make sure there is no one standing close enough behind you to copy down details, such as pin numbers, addresses, age, and so forth. Some cab drivers in Australia have sold credit card numbers to mates overseas who have then bought products on them. Most shops now don’t refund in cash but put the money back on the card.

The institutions are trying to protect customers from fraud but they can’t cover everything. The bottom line is that it is your identity and you are the one responsible for it.

Five Reasons to Trust a Criminal Attorney

It is rightly said that every individual must keep away from three professionals in life – doctors, cops and lawyers. However, due to a lot of circumstances, you unfortunately have to go to all the three of them. You visit doctors when you are unwell, you meet cops, even when you don’t drive properly and you have to get into the trap of unfaithful lawyers for a long list of problems.

Talking of lawyers, not all can be trusted. There are many lawyers, who fool their clients by being unfaithful to them. However, this does not mean that there are no lawyers, who can’t be trusted. When it comes to criminal attorneys, you have surely got to trust in them.

Wondering why and how? Here is a list of five reasons that would act as signs for you to trust them:

1) Their years of experience counts: If you really wish to find a trustworthy lawyer for your criminal case, you have got to find someone, who has a good amount of experience in the same field. If a lot of clients have worked with him, so can you!

2) They are not over-polite to you: It is okay to find a lawyer, who is polite, but over-politeness doesn’t work for sure! If your lawyer is trying to be over-polite to you, there are chances that he is passing your information to the other party.

3) They know how to maintain their respect in front of your eyes: Every lawyer must know how to maintain his dignity and respect in front of his clients. If you have met a professional, who knows how to talk to you and not divert his attention to his personal life, you can surely trust him.

4) They are not over-friendly to you and are not trying to get too personal to you: A good lawyer never tries to poke into your personal life, unless it is really needed or unless it is related to the case that you are trapped in. Sometimes, it is okay to question the client’s personal stories or affairs, but not always.

5) They don’t seem greedy to you and are dedicated to their work: A trustworthy lawyer is the one, who is extremely dedicated to his work. When he is working, there is absolutely nothing else that should come to his mind. Moreover, if you find a criminal attorney, who doesn’t seem greedy for his fees or money, you should thank your angels, since it is hard to get such professionals.

Why Do You Need a Criminal Attorney?

The question asked in this article is actually ironical; if you have committed some sort of a crime, you surely need a criminal attorney to have someone speak on your behalf. No matter how hard you try to put yourself as an innocent individual, the judge doesn’t listen to you. Thus, it is always good to have someone to speak for you and put all the valid points, nicely.

Still thinking about why you need a criminal attorney for your criminal case? Here are some of the reasons that would prove his importance to you:

• Criminal attorneys deal with cases like yours, all the time: You surely want someone, who has a good amount of experience in handling cases like yours. Therefore, you need a criminal attorney with wide experience in the same field. Since he is used to handling different criminal cases, he gives the best results to you.

• They are professionals, who know how to work for you: You may meet a lot of attorneys in life, but not all of them are as professional as the criminal ones. When it comes to the field of crime, there are hundreds of things that the lawyers also have to see, before taking up new clients. This makes them wiser and better individuals. They provide more professional services to their innocent clients.

• It is their job to ensure that you are out of the problem that you are into: Just like you want to be out of the criminal case, so do the lawyers. After all, they get their commissions when you are relieved from the charges. But it is also not about the money for them, always. Money is nothing, but a way to encourage their services. For lawyers, a case is nothing less or more than passion.

• They ensure that you are relieved from the criminal charges on your head: Until you are relieved from the charges, your lawyer doesn’t breathe freely. He has to make sure that you are freed with no charges on your head, so that you can live in the open air, once again. Just like you wish to be freed, your criminal lawyer also prays and hopes for your freedom, by fighting your case.

• They make sure that you are not only proven as an innocent in the court of law, but also ensure that you get back the lost respect: When you have a criminal case on your head, you lose a lot of respect amongst your loved ones and friends. However, when a criminal lawyer proves you innocent, you receive back the lost respect.

Charged With A Crime? Three Critical First Steps

If you are charged with a crime and required to attend court, chances are you will get lots of well-meaning advice from family and friends. However, in this situation it is easy to make things worse for yourself, and there are three critical steps you should take without delay.

Firstly, make sure you know exactly what you have been charged with and what the consequences might be if you are found guilty of the offence. The police will have given you or sent you a document called an “information” (in some jurisdictions this is called a charge-sheet, and may sometimes be accompanied by a summons requiring you to attend court). This document will state what the charge is, but it won’t usually say the penalty or other consequences of being convicted. Even if you have been told the maximum penalty prescribed for the offence, there are sometimes other consequences of being found guilty that are far worse than the prescribed penalty. For example, if you are convicted of a drug possession offence, you might be able to avoid going to jail, but that conviction on your record could mean you are denied entry to many countries around the world. Not a great outcome if you had plans to travel the world! Another example is where a person is charged with indecent assault or child abuse. Even if that criminal charge is dealt with by a fine or community service, it may have lifetime consequences in some jurisdictions if your career or planned career involves working with children. Being convicted of that kind of offence might mean you can never be a foster carer, a teacher, a school counsellor, or even a school janitor (for example). Therefore, a guilty verdict or plea in that situation could lock you out of some career choices forever. You should check this out before entering a guilty plea. Another issue is that sometimes people think a “first offence” rarely results in jail time. While it is true that a first offence may be regarded more leniently, many people do go to jail for first offences. This is especially true for serious drug supply offences, aggravated violence offences, and of course murder. It is therefore a good idea to ask a lawyer about the maximum penalty and other potential consequences of the charge you are facing. In my experience, young adults are particularly at risk of entering a guilty plea if they think they will only have to pay a fine, without considering the potential long-term consequences of having that offence on their criminal record. On many occasions, people in their 40s and 50s have asked for my advice about a problem arising from a conviction they got when they were in their teens or 20s. Sometimes it is possible to find solutions to these kinds of problems, but usually after 20 or 30 years it is just too late. The best time to get the best outcome is at the start when you are first charged. Even where a person is found guilty of an offence, it may be possible to obtain a discharge without conviction – so the offence is not on your record – if the circumstances justify that outcome. Knowing all the possible consequences of a conviction enables you to make the best decisions for your future.

Secondly, if you are subject to bail or an apprehended violence order (AVO – sometimes called a protection order or a domestic violence order), check the bail terms and the restrictions under the AVO. Breaching your bail can lead to it being revoked. Breaching an AVO can lead to fresh charges for the breach. For example, an AVO may ban you from contacting a specific person. If you try to contact that person, police may charge you. Then, even if you are ultimately found not guilty of the original offence, you might nonetheless have a criminal record because of the breach of the AVO. It is critical that you know and understand the restrictions imposed by your bail and AVO terms. While these restrictions on what you can do may be galling, particularly if you deny the offence that you have been charged with, the court takes bail and AVO breaches very seriously. If you don’t think the bail or AVO terms are reasonable, ask a lawyer about getting them changed. A lawyer can talk to police about the terms, and may be able to negotiate more suitable terms that make life easier for you while the case is unresolved. In some situations, police will not agree to new terms, or the court may refuse to approve new terms (even if police agree to them), and so in that situation it may be necessary to have a hearing for the court to decide what terms should apply. Remember that bail is an alternative to your being held in custody pending trial, and if the court is concerned that you might breach your bail terms it can revoke your bail. In that case, you could be held on remand in jail until your case is finished, especially if the charge against you is a serious one or the court views you as a danger to the community. Complying strictly with your bail and AVO terms is one way to convince the court that you have the ability to be a law-abiding citizen. This can sometimes make a difference when it comes to sentencing, because one of the factors that a court must consider when deciding whether to jail an offender is whether that offender is likely to re-offend if released into the community.

Thirdly, talk to a lawyer about your case and ask what steps you should take to get the best outcome. Anything you tell a lawyer about your case is covered by “legal professional privilege”, which means that the lawyer cannot be forced to tell anyone else what you have said. You should therefore trust your lawyer, and answer your lawyer’s questions truthfully so you get the best advice for your situation. In particular, your lawyer needs to be able to advise you about the chances of the charge being proved – i.e., whether you are likely to be found guilty – and how much credit you might get for an early guilty plea. Sometimes an early guilty plea can reduce the sentence by up to twenty-five percent, depending on the sentencing rules or guidelines that apply. A sentencing discount will reduce your fine or prison term, and might even make the difference between your serving your sentence in jail, or being allowed “home detention.” Getting a sentencing discount for an early plea is a reduction worth having if a conviction is inevitable anyway. A lawyer will also advise you about the prospects of defending the charge, in which case you will need help to plan your defence. Although defendants do sometimes appear in court without a lawyer, you should bear in mind that the police are very well resourced and their objective is to have you found guilty. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will have previous experience of similar cases, and will ensure that the police prove their case against you beyond reasonable doubt. Some aspects of criminal law are very complex, and a lawyer can advise you about defences that may be available to you that you might not otherwise know about. In some situations, particularly where you have never been charged with any offence before, a lawyer can suggest ways to get a better outcome. For example, you might be eligible for “diversion” – an option where you may avoid conviction by participating in a prescribed program – or in a traffic case you may get a better outcome if you complete a “traffic offender program” in jurisdictions where a program like that is available.

Lawyers know how to obtain relevant information from the police and other organisations. In some cases, police might omit to disclose facts that could be helpful to you, and a lawyer can check that all necessary disclosures have been made. A lawyer can also check whether police have followed required procedures. Discovery of a serious police error could even lead to a charge being withdrawn in some circumstances. In many cases, police lay multiple charges, and a lawyer can try to negotiate to have more serious charges dropped, or a serious charge downgraded to a lesser one.

Note: This article relates to the situation after you have been charged. If you have not yet been charged, you should ensure that you get legal advice before talking to police or making any admissions.

Top Three Tips To Find The Best DUI Lawyer

When you are involved in a drunken driving case, it is indeed a huge embarrassment for you and it results in loss of reputation as well, if you are a public figure. It is a huge dent to your confidence and goes down as one of the lowest moments in your life. If there is one element that can make this moment any better for you, it is the presence of a good DUI lawyer. When one is legally qualified and has enough experience in dealing with drunken driving cases before, he knows exactly how to bail you out of the situation you are in.

You should remember that you may not walk free when you hire a good attorney to fight your drunken driving case. Nevertheless, you could be rewarded with lower penalty charges or reduced jail sentence than that was offered to you before. Since this attorney plays an important role in your freedom, it is only natural that you should choose him properly. Here are five tips that will help you to choose the right legal partner to bail you out of your drunken driving case.

1. Local flavour

Always look for legal experts in your locality because these people will have a thorough knowledge of the local driving & drinking laws. Also, they could share a personal rapport with the judges or prosecution, and they might know to turn this goodwill into a reduced sentence for you. A local attorney knows exactly how the court functions and how it will pronounce judgements in a drunken driving case. Therefore, you must use an attorney who knows what he is doing and why he is doing so.

2. Great history

Before hiring a legal expert, do a background check on his representation history. Analyse the cases that he has presented and how many he won out of them. Also, check if he was involved in any controversial representations in the past that led to his disqualification from the bar. If yes, you should stay away from such people because they will only bring you more mess than the one that you are already in.

3. References

Choose an attorney who is ready to provide you references from his past clients and success stories. It speaks volumes about the confidence of a lawyer when he gives details of his past cases and clients to you. Check with these clients to understand the expert’s style of working, his winning rate, fee structure, availability, team strength and about his other skills. When an attorney hesitates or refuses to give details about references, it is a clear indication for you to reject this person.

These are some of the basic tips that you need to follow to hire one of the best attorneys to represent your drunken driving case. Apart from these, you should give consideration to factors like user reviews, the flexibility of timings, qualification and additional certifications of lawyers, personal discussions and recommendations from friends & colleague to choose the best possible option to represent your case successfully.

Types of Defenses Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Use

This lawyer defends their client in court who has been charged with a criminal activity that can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. If convicted their client could pay a fine, do community service, serve years in prison, or even receive the death penalty. It is the job of the criminal defense lawyer to either get their client acquitted or get them the lightest sentence possible. To accomplish this, criminal defense lawyers can use several defenses.

Affirmative criminal defense

Some criminal defense lawyers will attempt to minimize the prosecution’s evidence by showing it is not true. In this defense the lawyer, along with their client produce evidence in support of the defense. For example, if the defendant is charged with first-degree murder, which means that the client planned the murder before happened, they may choose to provide an alibi witness. This is someone who testifies that the defendant could not have committed the crime and gives them an alibi for the time the murder was committed.

Insanity defense

This defense that was made popular by movies and television shows. Unfortunately, it is a defense that is not frequently used or often successful. When criminal defense lawyers use this defense it states that their client did commit the crime but did not know what they did was wrong. To use this defense successfully the client will need to have a serious defect or mental illness at the time the crime was done. It can be risky to rely on this defense because the client is admitting to the crime but if the jury does not believe the client is insane they can find you the client guilty and hand-downs a harder sentence than they may have if they had not used this defense.

Coercion and Duress

This is an affirmative criminal defense lawyers used that states that their client was forced to commit the crime due to being threatened with unlawful force. The force does not actually have to happen.. Just the threat can be enough to satisfy this form of defense. This threat does not have to be against their client. It could be against someone else like a family member. This defense cannot be invoked if their client’s reckless actions put them in the situation that caused duress.

General criminal defenses

• Self defense-this states that their client’s actions would be considered criminal if the act was not necessary to defend themselves
• Status of limitations-this is when criminal defense lawyers states that the amount of time the prosecution has to charge their client with the crime has elapsed so the charges have to be dropped.
• Consent-it acknowledges you did commit the crime but the victim consented to it.