Saturday, October 27, 2012

Guess Who?!

identity theft crime victim
Who the heck ever thought up the concept of identity theft?  I mean, really?!?  It's hard enough keeping up with one identify - now you're going to juggle three or more?!?  The problem with identify theft is that most people never suspect they will ever be a victim.  I know a guy who prided himself on the fact the he has never bought anything online - to prevent thieves from stealing his financial information.  Imagine his surprise when he found he'd been had.  Picture it: He and his wife go to dinner.  At the end of the meal, he hands his debit card to the waiter.  An hour later, his checking account is empty.  Think you're safe from identity theft?  Here are three classic scams that are on the raise as of late.

Scam #1:  You're checking your email and you get a message from the IRS.  The email says the IRS made a mistake on your last refund and found that they should have refunded you more money.  To reclaim the monies "owed," the email says, simply respond to this email with your bank account information to directly deposit the funds to your account.  The problem with this scam is that what are the odds the IRS will EVER admit it owes you money?  I mean, really?!

Scam #2:  Your "bank" calls you on the phone and asks for an identity check.  The person says they need your account information and social security number (just to be sure it's you).  Actually, this happened to me the other day.  What I did was after they said the name of the financial institution and ran on with their spiel, I asked them what the name of
phone callers scam artists the bank was again.  When they said another name, the person fumbled around and hung up. Luckily I had caller ID.  I called the Attorney General's office and filed a claim.

Scam #3:  You get a phone call from someone claiming they are from the local courthouse and they tell you that you've missed jury duty and they need to collect your personal information.  The problem with this one is that courts never call you if you miss jury duty - they just issue a warrant for your arrest and flag your driver's license.  If you're ever pulled over by a police officer, they'll haul you into court.

Need information on identity theft, go to your local county law library and check out Online Identity Theft Protection for Dummies (  Currently embroiled in an identity theft case or looking to prosecute (or defend) an action sounding in identity theft?  If so, then you might want to look at
So, whether you've been a victim of identity theft, are looking to prevent from being a victim of identity theft, or are looking to defend against a charge of identity theft, know that the good folks at your local county law library have what you need to help you get back on your feet.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Only Stupid If You DON'T Ask

ideas, light bulbs, lightening bolts, pennies from heavenSo, the other day whilst I was getting my Law Librarian groove on a woman walked up to me.  This young lady had been working on her case for the last few months and she came up to me with an announcement that just rocked her world seven ways from Sunday.  She said to me, "I just realized something. State law is different from Federal law!"

Good thing she realized that if you're in state court you're not going to be using Federal law (and, in many situations, vice versa).  Thing is each court is very jealous about their jurisdiction and really don't like being told what to do by the other.  I suspect it's a big/little brother sort of thing.  In certain legal circles, it's called jurisprudence.

In any event - while this stuff is pretty basic for me, it may not be for others.  If you have any questions that are too ponderous for your friends (or your afraid they'll laugh at you), go ask your local county law librarian for help and I'm sure we (in the royal sense) can help answer your most ponderous legal research questions.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pre-marital games

free carefree easygoing
Once upon a time I was carefree and fancy free.  No wife, no kids, and no job.  Well, I worked part-time (more than enough to pay for golf and other sundry necessities of life).  During this time, I hooked up with a golfing buddy who was going to medical school.  In addition to medical school, he also had a girlfriend attached to his arm.  Turned out it was girlfriend's belief that he was her meal ticket.  Specifically, she believed that once boyfriend graduated from med school and slaved through residency, he'd become a filthy wealthy doctor and marry her.

Turns out boyfriend's dream was to lower his golf score three strokes and it caused girlfriend no small degree of consternation that his dream and her dream did not mesh.  Imagine, then, when I came on the scene and I started filling his head with ideas like he should become a golf pro and to make sure you get an ante-nuptial (aka prenuptial) agreement before he got married to girlfriend.

Whencrazy psycho girlfriend girlfriend found out I suggested he get an ante-nuptial agreement, she went out of her mind.  No kidding - you'd have thought her head was going to explode.  Seven shades of red, steam coming out her ears, her eyes turned blood red...truly a sight to behold.  Needless to say, she was not happy with me and swore a blood oath that if boyfriend ever got an ante-nuptial agreement, "they" would never find my body. 

Maybe you've considered writing up an ante-nuptial agreement.  If such is the case, might I point your attention to American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, 2d (West) or Marital Settlement and Other Family Law Agreements (CEB).  Yeah, those two resources are sure to get you going where you need to be just, uh, if you do create your agreement...would you please keep it on the low down?  I mean, helpful law librarian that I am, I'd rather not have to buy body armor to protect me from the angst your significant others are sure to inflict upon me.

I'm not kidding - please...don't tell anyone!

Friday, October 12, 2012

You ever get that sour taste in your mouth?

car smell lemon junkAt our law library, we get a whole lot of people who are dissatisfied with life, for one reason or another.  Their brother's cousin's sister borrowed money that was never returned.  Their mother's uncle's father was thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit.  Your brother's brother's brother's brother was fired for, of all things, spanking his boss (really happened).

Then there's the people who actually have a beef with life.  Take for instance the gal who came into our library the other day.  Seems she had bought a "new" car and in little under two days she had to return the car to the dealer for repairs.  In fact, she had to take her car into the dealer every week for over two months.  Turns out her "new" car wasn't really that new; something to do with the odometer being turned back a few thousand miles and the fact that her "new" car had
scream frazzled woman
been in an accident, or two.  When she finally came into our law library, she was frazzled seven ways from Sunday and about to pop.  Gently, I lead her over to our consumer law section and handed her Automobile Fraud (NCLC) and pointed her to the section on Lemon Laundering (the new term of art for litigation dealing with cars that are "lemons") and the section on the Federal Odometer Law

Sad that she had to go through this experience but good that she knew that she could depend on her local county law library to have what she needed to get back on the road to stability and sanity.  If you ever have a problem you can't seem to resolve, why not try working with your local county law librarian and see if we can't help you, too!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Word of the Month for October 2012: Due Diligence

definition legal words
A little while ago I was over at the public library and as I was minding my own business, I was witness to a rather loud conversation between a mother and her son.  Seems son had a big test the next day and mother was grinding into him the fact that had he spent more time studying and less time playing that he would not now be sweating his upcoming test.  Interesting how this concept of preparation seems to creep up in everyday life - if you do some prep work before the "test,"  you won't be sweating the details later.  It is with this thought that brings us the word of the month.

The word for this month is DUE DILIGENCE.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, due diligence is the diligence reasonably smack hit head hard objectsexpected from a person who seeks to satisfy a legal requirement.  A failure to exercise due diligence may sometimes result in liability and may also bring on a serious case of the stupids causing you to want to thump your head against hard objects.

This definition comes to us in the form of a couple who bought a house.  Seems they bought the house across the way from a dog kennel.  Actually, they didn't know there was a dog kennel across the way because when visited the house, there were only a couple of dogs on the lot and they were, apparently, not making a whole lot of noise.

dog bark loudThe problem was it never occurred to them to ask about dogs or noise and, apparently, no one thought to tell them about dogs or noise and, in fact, they didn't actually visit their new house but maybe once or twice so they didn't actually get a good feel for the place until after they plunked down their hard, earned cash.

Imagine their surprise, and chagrin, when the full doggie orchestra got together and started their daily performances.  Needless to say, the couple was none too happy.  Yes, the Broker should have told them something.  Yes, the former owner should have said something.  They didn't and the couple moved in and, well...that's how lawsuits get started.

Thing is, when I bought my house, I visited the neighborhood in question during the day, at night, on the weekends, and on holidays.  I checked things out as much as I could because that's what people do (or should do) before plunking down cash for stuff.  They do their "due diligence" before trouble starts.  Get it?  If the concept is still a bit fuzzy, head on over to your local county law library and take a look at California Real Property Sales Transactions (CEB) or American Jurisprudence: State and Federal, 2nd Ed. (West).  Those'll get you going in the right direction.

In any event, I suspect the moral to this when it doubt, check everything out yourself and don't trust anyone.  Kick the tires, slam the doors, and ask lots and lots of questions.  An exception might be made for your local county law librarian because they're there to help you look better than you did when you came through the door.  Yeah, they are that good!