By Kelly Sargent
Black Friday has come and gone. We’re hoping you survived it unscathed and weren't taken in by any online scams.
But today is Cyber Monday and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday! And those days as well as every day from now until the holidays are over are rife with scammers.
Here are a few tips from The New York Times. to help you spot a scam
Creating a false sense of urgency is a common scammer tactic.
— In 2022 scammers posed as Home Depot, sending emails promising $500 gift cards to a limited number of shoppers. The catch was that buyers had to pay a small shipping fee, and of course there was no $500 gift card in return.
Before buying something from an Facebook or Instagram post, check out the account behind it to confirm that the offer is legit.
— Shopping scams on Facebook and Instagram, comprised 44% of reported social media fraud in the first half of 2023. The most common scam is a simple one: Scammers take payment for an item, typically clothes or electronics, and never deliver the product.
Look at every URL carefully before you click.
— Even an email or text that appears to be from a store where you shop regularly that promises an especially good deal might not be legit.
Keep an eye out for unusual constructions or misspellings in URLs.
— Amaz0n.com is not the same as Amazon.com, for example, and usps.upspb.com is not the US Postal Service.
Watch for misspellings in messages and poorly designed sites.
— Scammers are getting better at making sites look legitimate, but poor grammar and spelling and amateurish looking sites can be a giveaway.
Check to see if the business making an offer is actually still active before entering payment information.
— Scammers take over legitimate storefronts and use digital credit card skimmers to intercept payment information. Compromised online shops number in the hundreds, with 80 new malicious domain names registered by a single scammer operation in October. Outdated copyright information can be a sign that the site isn’t properly maintained and could be compromised.
Unfortunately, even Giving Tuesday isn’t necessarily safe. California’s Department of Justice has these suggestions:
— Check the charity’s registration status.
— Give to organizations you trust.
— Watch out for ‘look-alike and fake websites and emails.
— Don’t be pressured by telemarketers.
— Watch out for similar-sounding names and other deceptive tactics.
— Protect your identity by never giving our your Social Security number or other personal identifiable information.
It's not just the food and music, rhythms and dances (think tango, rumba, cha-cha salsa and more) through which Hispanic Americans, Latinos, Latinas and Latinx-identifying have enriched our culture and society. It's the personal stake of labor and love that more than 60 million Hispanic Americans have invested in this country.
Through October 15, Tucker Law is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. However, every day we're grateful for the contributions of our Hispanic friends and neighbors. We're always here to serve you regardless of country of origin, race, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
By Erin Tucker
World Alzheimer’s Day was September 21. In honor of those who have a loved one suffering from dementia and those who are dealing with it themselves, we want to share this list that one of our Tucker Law friends shared with us. Perhaps we should
all keep a copy of this just in case.
If I get dementia, I want those around me and taking care of me to remember these things.
1. If I get dementia, I want my family and friends to embrace my reality. Just go with it and have fun.
2. If I get dementia, and I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
3. If I get dementia, don’t argue with me about what is true for me versus what is true for you.
4. If I get dementia, and I am not sure who you are, do not take it personally. My timeline is confusing to me, and I may not even recognize my own reflection in the mirror.
5. If I get dementia, and can no longer use utensils, do not start feeding me. Instead, switch me to a finger-food diet, and see if I can still feed myself first.
6. If I get dementia, and I am sad or anxious, hold my hand and listen. Do not tell me that my feelings are unfounded. Sing or dance with me to distract and make me laugh.
7. If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am. Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid, and don’t let anyone else do it.
8. If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to do some of it.
9. If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past, even if it’s the same one you always hear.
10. If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me. Be patient. I’m probably frustrated because I can’t express myself, I’ve lost my independence, I’m not feeling well, or I’m feeling fearful or anxious.
11. If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
12. If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me. Even now, if I don’t eat I get hangry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need. PS: I love sweet treats.
13. If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room. Don’t let anyone else do it.
14. If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.
15. If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
16. If I get dementia, don’t act frustrated if I mix up names, events, or places. Take a deep breath. It’s not my fault. I’m trying.
17. If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot. Turn my favorite show on.
18. If I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original place. Don’t accuse me of stealing stuff.
19. If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings. I need stimulation, whether I realize it or not.
20. If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs, kisses, and touches. As a matter of fact, I need it.
21. If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love in this shell. I am still those memories. I still love you.
By Kelly Sargent
Tucker Law is sharing this P.S.A from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in an effort to help you avoid being scammed.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office continues to field calls regarding phone scams. Many of these scams revolve around missing jury duty, causing a warrant for a person's arrest. The scammer then requests payment from the victim to avoid arrest. The people conducting these scams are using sophisticated methods to make the calls seem real. They will use the actual names of employees at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, and often times, the callback phone number will come back to an office within our agency.
Indicators of a scam:
If you receive a questionable call and want to verify the information, call your local law enforcement. If you fall victim to a scam and money is lost, call your local law enforcement to make a report. If you receive a scam call and no money is lost, report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office has also released a Public Service Announcement video to help educate the public. Please share this video to help spread the message and reduce the number of victims falling for these scams.
By Erin Tucker
There's a phishing scam out and about that claims a process server is looking for you. Lots of scams start with an intimidating phone call: a “debt collector” needs you to pay immediately, or a “police officer” claims to have a warrant for your arrest.
This latest variation involves a phony process server and a non-existent court case against you. The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker has gotten numerous reports of this new twist.
Here’s how to spot it.
You receive a call from an unknown or blocked number from a person claiming to be a process server. They might say there is a lien on your home or someone is taking you to court over unpaid medical bills. In other cases, the scammer may be secretive, saying they can’t reveal details until your papers are served.
Next, they’ll ask you to “confirm” sensitive personal information, such as your date of birth and Social Security number. When you’re hesitant to give out this information, they stress the urgency of the matter! If you ask too many questions about who is making a complaint or what company the process server works for, the scammer will get angry.
The people behind this scam don’t have any legal papers to deliver; they want to get their hands on your personal information to commit identity theft.
How to avoid similar scams:
Be wary of scare tactics. Scammers love to threaten people with legal action or hefty fines, scaring them into giving up their personal information. They hope fear will make you act without thinking. Always remember representatives of a reputable business or legal office will be polite and civil, even in a serious situation. They won’t pressure you to act immediately “or else.”
Search your local court website. If you think there’s a chance someone has filed a lawsuit against you, check your local court's website. Search your name to see if any lawsuit has been filed. If nothing comes up, you’re in the clear.
And remember, we're always here to help you!
By Kelly Sargent
Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather hazard, and the risk of longer and more frequent heat waves is only expected to increase as climate change worsens. The heat in Texas is so extreme that it broke all-time high temperature records, and on June 20 a postal worker died while working his route in a Dallas neighborhood.
But don’t think heat illness and death only occur in the South. From 2011 to 2021, the last data available, 426 Iowans were hospitalized with heat illnesses, and in that same 10-year period, nationwide, 436 people died from work-related exposure to environmental heat
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury is heatstroke which can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (or higher.
It’s vital to recognize the signs of heatstroke because you can be stricken without realizing you’re in danger. When my husband Paul was 10 years old, he was riding his bike with a friend on a hot summer day , when suddenly he was down on the ground paralyzed from heat stroke. Fortunately his friend Jay quickly rode his bike to summon help. Jay’s mother drove to where Paul was, loaded him in the back of the car, drove him to their house and submerged him in cool water to lower his body temperature.
Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
Heatstroke signs and symptoms include:
High body temperature
A core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a rectal thermometer, is the main sign of heatstroke.
Altered mental state or behavior
Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
Alteration in sweating
In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
Nausea and vomiting
You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
Your head may throb.
By Erin Tucker
If you get an unexpected letter from your mortgage company, look closely! According to numerous Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker reports, the letters are
a deceptive solicitation for a home warranty service.
Here’s how the scam works:
You receive a letter that appears to come from your mortgage provider. It’s allegedly from the company’s “Home Warranty Department,” and claims that your home warranty must be renewed.
Before acting, look closely at the letter. One BBB Scam Tracker report noticed: “At the very bottom of the letter in small print is the comment, ‘Not all consumers have previous coverage. We are not affiliated with your current mortgage.’”
If you don’t read the fine print, or it doesn’t appear in the letter you receive, you're likely to be concerned your home warranty has lapsed, and your mortgage is at risk. But if you call the number and “renew” your warranty, you won't be dealing with your mortgage lender. Instead, you will have given money and personal information to a company using deceptive advertising tactics to trick you.
Here’s how to avoid the scam:
If you receive any correspondence about your mortgage or home warranty you aren’t sure about, don’t use the contact information in the message. Instead, call your lender directly to inguire about the matter. Look up their contact information separately on your mortgage bill or search for your lender’s customer service line on their website.
Don’t let scammers pressure you to act immediately, even if they say you could lose your home. If someone tries to use scare tactics, stop communicating with them and contact your bank or lender directly.
Thanks to the BBB for keeping up updated about the latest scams, and shared with you today because we care about you all the time; not just when we're litigating a case on your behalf. As always, call us if you need us.
By Erin Tucker
I'm sharing this scam alert with you that Kelly received from the Better Business Bureau because here at Tucker Law, we care about you all the time, not just when we're litigating a case on your behalf.
We were both surprised to learn that employment scams have recently climbed to the second most risky scam, exceeded only by online purchases.
Here's how this scam works
You apply online through a reputable, third-party job-seeking site. A few days or weeks later, you get a text message or email asking if you are still interested in the position or a similar one at the same company. Since you shared your personal contact information available to your potential employer when you applied, the message doesn't seem unusual.
If you reply to the message, the scammer will invite you to interview for the job. This is when red flags start to appear because instead of conducting a traditional interview, the "employer" asks you to download a messaging app and answer a few questions via text.
Then, you're offered the position on the spot, with great pay and benefits. Your new "employer" may even send you a convincing offer letter.
After your "job offer," the phony employer asks you to complete a form with your personal and banking information, claiming they need it for direct deposit. In other cases, the scammer may ask you to set up a home office, either with your funds or money they'll send you in a (fake) check.
If you send money or share your personal details, it will now be in the hands of scammers.
How to avoid job scams
Research the person who contacted you. If you suspect the person contacting you could be a scammer, look them up. A quick online search should reveal if they work for the company they claim to represent.
Do more research on the company. You may have done this before you applied for the position. Still, if you get a surprise offer to interview, it's worth doing more research to learn more about their hiring process, home office requirements, salaries and benefits packages. If these don't align with your offer, you could be dealing with a scammer.
Guard your personal information. Never give sensitive information to anyone you aren't sure you can trust. Be especially wary if someone pressures you to divulge your information saying the job offer will only last if you fill out all the forms.
Watch out for overpayment scams. Many job scams involve sending fake checks with extra funds. Scammers ask their victims to deposit the check and send back the excess amount, hoping they'll do so before they realize the check was fake and has bounced. Legitimate companies will only send you money after you've done work for them, so be wary of jobs that involve receiving and returning the money.
Don't fall for jobs that seem too good to be true. They probably are. If you are offered a job without a formal interview that has excellent pay and benefits, it's likely a scam.
By Erin Tucker
International Women's Day was Wednesday, March 8. The Institute for Women's Policy Research, a nonprofit based in Washington DC which conducts research with women as the central point of analysis, released its fact sheet this month on the gender wage gap in the US by occupation, ethnicity and race in the US.
Inequities remain. The headline of their fact sheet analyzing data from 2022 is "Women Earn Less Than Men Whether They Work in the Same or in Different Occupations."
Here are some takeaways:
In 2022 women earned less than men for full-time weekly work in almost all occupations, including in 19 of the largest 20 occupations for women and in all of the largest 20 occupations for men.
Black and Latina women’s median weekly pay for full-time work is substantially less than White men's. Black women’s women’s earnings were just 67.4 percent compared to that of White men, and Hispanic or Latina wages were just 61.4 percent of White non-Hispanic men’s pay. Black and Latina women are over-represented in service occupations, but whether high or low paying, their median earnings are lower than men’s in the same occupational group.
Because women are more likely than men to hold part-time job (22.0 percent of women compared with 11.0 percent of men worked part-time in 2022), the wage gap widens when all workers earnings are considered. Women earned 77.4 percent compared to men when all weekly workers, both full-time and part-time, are included in the calculation.
If you feel you are being discriminated against in the work place because of your gender, race, ethnicity or disability, there may be legal recourse. We're here to help.
Below table from the institute for Public Policy Research.
By Erin Tucker
Two months ago the US Department of Labor issued its national census of fatal occupational injuries for the year 2021. It’s not good news. The number of fatal work injuries increased almost 9% over 2020: a total of 5190 deaths.
Here are some other key findings from the census.
-- A worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury in 2021.
-- The share of Black workers fatally injured on the job reached an all time high in 2021, climbing to 653 in 2021, a 20.7 percent increase from 2020.
-- Workers in transportation and material moving occupations experienced a high of 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021, an increase of 18.8 percent from 2020 — the occupational group with the highest number of fatalities.
-- Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event in 2021 with 1,982 fatal injuries, an increase of 11.5 percent from 2020. This category accounted for more than 38 percent of all work-related fatalities for 2021.
-- Fatalities due to violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased by almost 8 percent to 761 fatalities in 2021. The largest subcategory, intentional injuries by a person, increased 10.3 percent.
-- Exposure to harmful substances or environments led to 798 worker fatalities in 2021, the highest figure since 2011 when tracking this category began. It also experienced the largest increase yet in fatalities, up 18.8 percent from 2020.
-- Work related fatalities due to falls, slips and trips increased 5.6 percent — from 805 fatalities in 2020 to 850 in 2021. Falls, slips and trips in construction and extraction occupations accounted for 370 of these fatalities in 2021, an increase of over 7 percent from 2020.
Underreporting is widespread. According to the AFL/CIO union, the true toll of work-related injuries and illness is 5.4 to 8.1 million each year.
If you've suffered an on-the-job injury or work-related illness, email, message or call us. We're here to help.
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