Identity Theft Law – The Legal Implications and Consequences of Identity Fraud

Identity Fraud is a serious offense and identity fraud law has been enacted in the United States of America to curb this growing menace. Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies became aware of the growing incidence of identity theft and passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (ITADA) in 1998 to bring identity thieves to justice and protect the victim.

More often than not identity fraud involves online transactions and the culprit is anonymous and faceless. The process of tracing the culprit is therefore tedious and difficult but not impossible. With increasing use of the internet in day-to-day activities there has been a proportional increase in the number of identity fraud cases.

Tracking down the criminal requires coordination between various federal organizations like the FTC, postal inspection service, United States secret service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and the credit report agency

Identity fraud law vests the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the task of receiving complaints from victims of identity theft and providing them the necessary information. The FTC processes the complaint and then refers it to an appropriate authority for further necessary action.

ITADA passed by the United States Senate in 1998 identified identity thefts associated with mortgage, credit card, loans, services and commodities as punishable. With the complexity of identity thefts increasing, the Senate amended the ITADA in 2003.

The ITADA in its amended form makes it illegal for any individual to be knowingly in possession of another person’s identity without lawful authority. If the identity is used to commit, aid or abet any activity that is a violation of Federal law it is a serious federal crime and appropriate legal measures will be initiated.

The ITADA recognizes identity fraud as a serious felony and if guilt is proved in a court of law the culprit could serve up to thirty years in prison in addition to penalties.

California and Wisconsin are two states in the USA that have created an office of privacy protection entrusted with the responsibility of educating citizens about avoiding identity theft and assisting them to cope with and recover from an identity fraud.

California also enacted a data breach notification law that was later emulated by many states. This law stipulates that a company must notify all its customers of any breach of data that is identified.

Currently most states in the United States have enacted special laws to fight identity theft. Most states also have a special section within the Attorney General’s office that deals exclusively with identity theft.

You should intimate the FTC immediately after coming to know about identity theft. You can do this through email or calling up their toll free number or making a personal visit to the local FTC office. You should also inform the credit reporting agency and local police department.

Identity fraud law is relatively new and amendments will be made as conmen devise newer ways of swindling money. Being well informed and prevention is the best way to fight identity fraud.

Legal Transcription Companies in the US – Make the Right Choice

Legal transcription outsourcing has become the need of the hour. Lawyers, attorneys, law companies and other legal professionals / entities increasingly choose to entrust the transcription jobs to a reputable transcription company to save labor and time. These companies transcribe various legal reports such as legal letters, court proceedings, client letters, reports, court transcripts, arbitration’s, interrogations, legal pleadings, trials, and general correspondence.

How to Choose the Best Legal Transcription Service Provider

There are a number of legal transcription companies in the US that provide legal transcription services. However, to choose a competent and dedicated company from among the vast number of service providers is a big challenge. There are certain factors you need to consider when hiring a transcription company.

The first and most important point to check is the credibility and reputation of the firm. Taking feedback from the existing clients of the firm can prove to be helpful in determining this.

Most transcription companies provide a free trial of their services. This is the best way to get a firsthand experience of their services. During this free trial you should check the following:

• Infrastructure
• Accuracy of final draft
• Turnaround time
• Promptness and responsiveness of the staff
• Professionalism and skill of the staff
• Whether they have excellent measures to safeguard confidentiality and security
• Dedication towards customer service

This would surely provide a basic idea as to the working process and the level of commitment of the staff and the company as a whole.

What Are the Qualities That Legal Transcription Companies Should Possess?

When it comes to accuracy, nothing below 99 percent is acceptable in this regard. Hence, it is inevitable for any firm to employ the best staff to get accurate results. Apart from this, to enhance performance of their staffs, most reliable firms impart training sessions to keep them updated with the changing demands and expectations of their clients.

Also, a three level quality assurance check of every document has become the rule. To get the best, most accurate and error-free output these companies are recruiting professional proofreaders, editors and transcriptionists to review the documents. Only after a document is approved at all the three levels, it is handed over to the client.

It is equally important to maintain the security of the legal documents. No compromise is acceptable when it comes to confidentiality and security. So it is the responsibility of the company to adopt the required measures for ensuring complete security and privacy for client data.

Apart from this, the legal transcription firm should also provide:

• Affordable and competitive rates
• Quick turnaround time
• Convenient dictation options (toll-free number/digital recorder) according to client preference
• Facility of electronic signatures
• 24/7 customer support and technical assistance

Considering the above guidelines when choosing an outsourcing partner from among the numerous legal transcription companies in the US will help you find the right firm. It is advisable to go for a provider that has facilities in the US and offshore, if you are looking for affordable services and round-the-clock service.

When Legal Guardianships Make Sense Plus a Few Alternatives to Consider

A legal guardianship is a court-created relationship where a person takes legal responsibility for the needs of a minor child or incapacitated individuals. These people take over the responsibility for making decisions about healthcare, food, housing, and even social interactions. When a guardianship is in place, they have ultimate authority over decision making in the incapacitated person’s life. While there is court oversight of the process, there is a significant loss in freedom that goes along with it.

There is an obvious need for a minor child to have guidance and supervision who obviously cannot raise themselves. If they are married, most people will designate their spouse to look after their children in the event of their death. However, it is wise to name additional persons, for instance, a parent, brother, sister, uncle or other close family member or friend that you would trust to act should your spouse die before you, or any of those named becomes unsuitable to act as guardian.

These wishes can be established in a will and helps in many ways including:

• Providing details about the parent’s wishes regarding disposition of the estate and assets

• Name an Executor of the will

• Avoid potential custody battles by establishing legal responsibilities for the guardian

• Protect the interests of minor children until they reach the age of majority and can make decisions on their own.

However, if a legal guardianship is not put in place the consequences are more severe when then an incapacitated adult has control over his or her own decisions. This could mean disastrous consequences financially and in terms of healthcare. However, putting such legal measures in place does mean the loss of certain fundamental rights. The right to make decisions contrary to the guardian, for example, is lost immediately. While not every personal right is lost in the process, the fact is many of them are.

There are other less invasive alternatives which can be exercised to protect an incapacitated loved one while still allowing them some freedoms. A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship except a conservator has power to exercise control over the incapacitated person’s estate only. An estate is comprised of all the possessions belonging to the person. A conservator will typically be in charge of managing financial decisions for the estate.

Another option is establishing power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that grants certain power and authority to the person who holds it to act on behalf of another person. A power of attorney can be revoked at will, at any time. On the other hand, unlike with court-appointed guardianships and conservatorships, there is no oversight involved with a power of attorney, making them potentially a greater risk for abuse and misuse.