Important Advice from the Oregon AG About the Equifax Breach

Yesterday the Oregon Attorney General shared important advice about the Equifax data breach. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Do not visit the Equifax website to determine if your information has been compromised.
  2. Check your credit report.
  3. Place a freeze on your credit. 
  4. Place a fraud alert in your credit file.
  5. File your taxes as early as possible.
  6. Visit identitytheft.gov to learn more.

Read the full post, including AG Rosenblum’s reasoning for avoiding the Equifax website, here.

The Best Legal Blog Posts of 2016

2016-word-cloudIf you’ve followed my blog for a year or more, you know I generally publish a “Year in Review” post.  This December I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Instead of a comprehensive list, I’m filtering it down to my personal favorites. And while it may be controversial, I’m calling this compilation The Best Legal Blog Posts of 2016.  There is plenty of good stuff out there, but this is the best that has appeared here.  Mostly my content, but also sourced from other great writers.

Client Relations

eCourt and court procedures

Finances

Marketing

Security

Staffing

Technology

Time Management

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

Scams Will Never Stop

It would be lovely to report that scams are a thing of the past, but we don’t live in a dream world.

From the latest round of fraud involving cashier’s checks in our sister state to the Russian password hackfake court notices, and bar complaint scam, scammers will

always find a way.

One of the best resources for scam prevention comes from the agency charged with doing something about this consumer menace, the FTC.  From the scam alert home page, you can:

  • Subscribe to scam alerts by email
  • Browse scams by topic
  • Report a scam (which too few of us bother to do – scroll to the bottom of the page)

Remember the classic signs of an email scam, which continue to be the most common:

  • The source is not a known client
  • The potential client is outside the U.S. and can “only communicate by email.”
  • The information given seems legitimate, until you independently verify it
  • The potential client’s story is ever-changing [I have a dispute or debt collection matter, oh, before I could sign your engagement letter we were able to settle it.]
  • The potential client wants you to deposit a cashier’s check or money order today and wire the proceeds tomorrow

It bears repeating:

  1. You can always pick up the phone if you receive a suspicious email, even from someone you know.  A PLF staffer did this recently when he received an email directing him to download a document from a lawyer’s Google Drive account. Upon contacting the lawyer by phone, he learned the lawyer’s email had been hacked.
  2. Install, update, and use anti-malware, anti-virus, and other security software.
  3. Be equally wary of phone calls that threaten action if you do not immediately provide credit card information.  Remember the phone scam that hit Washington lawyers?  Scammers have posed as the IRS, bar staff trying to collect bar dues, the sheriff seeking to fine someone for not showing up for jury duty, etc. etc.  No state or federal agency collects payment for legitimate debts over the phone. If you are worried about a potential fine or purported collection account, hang up and independently call the agency who appears to be contacting you.
  4. Scammers will also exert the effort to appear in person on your doorstep.  See, “Phake Trust Accounts,” New Twists on Scams: Call Me Maybe (Not!).  Be prepared!

[All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis]