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The Ins & Outs Of Insurance Fraud In California

The Ins & Outs Of Insurance Fraud In California

The Ins & Outs Of Insurance Fraud In California

Fraud is the word used when a person says something they know to be untrue for the specific reason of obtaining some sort of benefit. One of the most common form of fraud in California is insurance fraud.

There are Multiple Types of Insurance Fraud

The State of California has authorized prosecutors to handle cases of insurance fraud that fall under the provisions laid out in Chapter 12 of the California Insurance Code. The code is commonly called the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. When insurance fraud is suspected, the Fraud Division mounts an extensive investigation that explores whether the fraud actually occurred and if the accused is in violation of California’s Penal and Insurance Codes. If the accused is found guilty, they’ll have a felony record.

Most of the cases handled by Fraud Divisions in California involve:

  • Auto insurance fraud
  • Health insurance fraud
  • Personal injury/worker’s compensation insurance fraud
  • Residential or Commercial property insurance fraud

What California Considers Insurance Fraud

Unlike some laws which are vague, when writing the laws involving insurance fraud, California lawmakers clearly outlined what they felt was insurance fraud. According to state laws, you can be found guilty of insurance fraud if you:

  • Knowingly took the steps needed to commit insurance fraud, such as hiding a vehicle and then telling the insurance company it was stolen.
  • You went through with the fraudulent act and filed the insurance claim.
  • If the Fraud Division can prove that both the act and intent to commit insurance fraud went together.

It’s important to note that you can be found guilty of felony insurance fraud even if you never receive any money from the act.

California’s insurance fraud laws are written in such a way that the only thing that has to be proven is act and intent.

Who Can Accuse You Of Insurance Fraud

In most states, the insurance company is the one who has to alert the authorities to an act of insurance fraud, but California is unique. When you read through the Insurance Frauds Prevention Act, you’ll see language that allows a person who isn’t connected to the insurance company to file a lawsuit against someone who they believe to be guilty of insurance fraud. The interesting thing about the law is that it enables the private citizen, AKA the whistleblower, be “rewarded” 30-50% of the settlement or trial award once the insurance fraud case reaches its conclusion.

Penalties Of Being Convicted Of Insurance Fraud In California

The most devastating aspect of being found guilty of insurance fraud is that you’ll have a felony record. In addition to that the judge can order you to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to $10,000 for each violation as well as paying up to three times the amount you collected in fraudulent insurance claims.


Is It Time for Last Call?

Is It Time for Last Call?

Is It Time for Last Call?

California lawmakers have recently passed a bill that if signed by Governor Jerry Brown, would allow certain cities to extend how late alcohol could be served. The bill in question is Senate Bill (SB) 905. The bill was passed at the end of August 2018, and now awaits either the Governor’s veto or signature.

The new law proposed by SB 905 would allow cities to decide when bars and other alcohol serving establishments should stop serving alcohol. Currently, bars and restaurants in California are required to have their last call at 2AM. Under this new law, 9 cities would be able to extend their last call for a few more hours starting in 2021.

The 9 cities included in this bill are:

  • Cathedral City
  • Coachella
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Palm Springs
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • West Hollywood

The idea behind doing this is to allow these cities, and California as a whole, to compete with neighboring states, such as Nevada, that allow drinking into the early morning hours. By extending last call by just a few hours, these cities could end up seeing increased revenue.

However, even with the Governor’s signature, the bill would also need to be approved by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. If that were achieved, the law would go into effect in 2021 and last for 5 years where politicians would then get to decide if they wanted to keep the law or get rid of it.


Pirating Movies Is A Serious Offense

Pirating Movies Is A Serious Offense

Pirating Movies Is A Serious Offense

We’ve all seen the FBI warning in front of movies, warning us not to pirate the film and distribute it illegally. For the most part, people ignore the warning simply because they had no intention of doing that. However, there are some people out there who ignore the warning and do that anyway. They figure they won’t get caught and that even if they do, it won’t be that big of a deal.

For one California man, this turned out to not be the case. A 22 year-old man recently found out just how serious the government takes piracy. Back in 2016, the man posted a pirated copy of the movie Deadpool to his social media account. The movie was then viewed over 6 million times, which quickly earned the attention of local authorities.

The man now faces 6 months in jail, and 1 year of probation for the criminal act. This is a very big deal for something that many people view as a “small” crime. However, especially in this instance, this is not a small crime. Over 6 million people watched the movie illegally online, which amounts to a huge loss in profits for the company that made the movie, in this case, 20th Century Fox.

Despite what one might think, pirating movies is a very big deal. It prevents companies, and the people that work for them, from getting the money they worked hard to earn. Due to this fact, the government does take this crime very seriously, as evident by this latest case.


Know Where Your Donations Are Going

Know Where Your Donations Are Going

Know Where Your Donations Are Going

Every once in a while, we comes across something online that just tugs at our heart strings. Then we find out that we can donate some money to help out. We jump at the chance to help out, but before anyone gets too excited, they should make sure the money is actually going where it should.

Unfortunately, there are many people out there who like to take advantage of kindhearted people. These bad people know that they can manipulate good people into donating by claiming the money will be going to help some cause. Anyone can setup a GoFundMe page and request money from strangers.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides some tips for people who are looking to support different charities or causes safely. One of the signs that a charity is probably a scam, is if the charity does not provide detailed information about what the money is going to be used for, then it is probably a scam. Most legitimate charities know what the money they raise will be used for.

Other signs that a charity may be a scam include:

  • The charity’s name is very similar to another prominent charity.
  • The charity tries to pressure you into making a donation without allowing you to think about whether or not you want to do so.
  • The charity asks for cash, gift cards, or wire transfers.
  • Guarantees that you will win a prize from a sweepstakes if you donate.
  • Offers to send someone to get the money from you.

If you are looking at donating some money to a good cause, be sure to do your research. Lookup the charity that you will be donating to, and try searching to see if there have been any scams or complaints about the charity in question. Doing this can help you make an informed and safe donation to a true charity, and not some scammer.


Consequence Of Driving With A Suspended License

Consequence Of Driving With A Suspended License

Consequence Of Driving With A Suspended License

Having a driver’s license makes life considerably easier and in some parts of California, the ability to drive is a key component of survival since there’s no form of public transportation. However, there are times when the State of California can decide to suspend your license.

How a Driver’s License Becomes Suspended

It’s a easier to have your drivers license suspended than you might think. Things that can result in to the state revoking your driving privileges include:

  • Unpaid tickets.
  • Driving while under the influence.
  • Being declared physically or mentally incapable of driving.
  • Having too many points on your driving record.

California Vehicle Code 14601 VC not only deals with the various reasons why a license can be suspended, but also the consequences connected to continuing to drive despite the fact you’ve lost your license.

What Happens if You Continue to Drive

It’s easy to understand the urge to drive despite the fact that your license is suspended. No one is going to know as long as you don’t get pulled over and driving means you don’t have to walk or beg a friend for a ride.

The thing you have to remember is that if you are caught driving on a suspended license you’ll face severe consequences.

Penalties for Driving Without a License in California

  • First Offense: Imprisonment for between 5 days and 6 months; $300-$1000 fine.
  • Subsequent Offense: Imprisonment for between 10 days and 1 year; $500-$2000 fine.

Vehicle Code 14601 VC states that when you’re caught driving on a suspended license, the local prosecutor will charge you with a misdemeanor, a charge that can be a serious blow, especially if you’re trying to get a job or lease a new apartment.

The exact penalty connected to your decision to drive while your license is suspended depends on a few different variables, including:

  • Why your license was suspended in the first place.
  • How many times you’ve been caught driving on a suspended license.
  • The traffic infraction that led to you being pulled over and the officer discovering the status of your license.

It’s not uncommon for a person who has been caught driving on a suspended license to spend time in the county jail and to also be issued some heavy fines.

In addition to facing legal problems when you’re caught driving on a suspended license, you’ll also have a difficult time registering your vehicle (which increases the odds of you getting pulled over and caught) and insuring your vehicle. The lack of insurance and license means that you’ll be on the wrong side of a lawsuit should you cause an accident.


Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

When you’re the person making prank calls, it is a lot of fun, but you should know that each time you make one of those calls, you’re breaking California’s Penal Code 653m PC. This code also includes prank text messages and emails.

The problem with prank calls is that while you’re having a great time, the person on the other end isn’t. Having to deal with threatening and/or annoying calls is very stressful which is why the lawmakers got into the action. Don’t assume that your prank calls will simply get you a slap on the wrist. If the prosecutor decides to pursue the case and a jury finds you guilty, you’ll go through life with a misdemeanor on your record and could spend time in a county jail cell.

What Types of Call Violate Penal Code 653m PC

Most people assume that the only calls that will get them in trouble are ones that openly threaten the person on the other side of the message/call. The truth is that when you read Penal Code 653m PC, you’ll discover that California’s lawmakers consider repetitive and flat out annoying calls to also be in violation of the law.

The good news is that the most prosecutors aren’t looking for teenagers who randomly call people and ask them a joke. In most counties, Penal Code 653m PC is used mainly to prosecute harassing phone calls/messages that are involved with cases that include other issues such as stalking and domestic violence. The calls/messages that get the most attention from the authorities are the ones that are openly threatening and where obscene language is used.

One of the things that has gotten some people in trouble with the law is that they made a prank call but failed to connect with anyone on the other end, only to have the person return the call. If you start using obscene language at this point, the cops could knock on your door.

The Problem with Penal Code 653m PC

While most law officials feel that Penal Code 653m PC is a great idea, there are quite a few problems connected to it, which is bad news for prosecutors but good news for those charged with violating the law. The biggest problem is that the type of obscene language is so bad it violates Penal Code 653m PC. This gives the defense a good argument they can use to get the charges dismissed.

If found guilty, you could be required to pay a $1,000 fine and sentenced to 6 months in county jail.


Protect Yourself When Online Shopping

Protect Yourself When Online Shopping

Protect Yourself When Online Shopping

When was the last time you bought something from a brick and mortar store? When was the last time you bought something from an online store? One of the many conveniences of the 21st century is the ability to shop and buy products from the comforts of your living room. You can quickly and easily compare prices, find the best deals, and load up on your favorite products without ever leaving home.

However, you’re not alone. You are not the only one taking advantage of the online shopping phenomenon. There are millions of hackers scouring the internet for consumers’ identities and personal information. In order to avoid having your credit or debit card information taken, or worse, having your personal information and identity stolen, there are a few simple things you need to do when making online purchases.

The first thing you should always do is to make sure you are making purchases from a legitimate store. According to Heimdal Security, hackers create fake websites that infect your computer as soon as you click the URL. If you do make a purchase, the hackers will obtain your credit card information, name, and address. You can spot fake websites by looking for strange URLs, a wide array of brands at really low prices, and a poorly designed or functioning website.

As tempting as it may be to make purchases using free WI-FI around town, DON’T. If you utilize an unsecured internet connection, hackers can intercept your web traffic and watch you in real-time. You should also keep a close eye on your bank account for any suspicious activity or purchases that you didn’t make. If you come across an unknown purchase, report it to your bank immediately.

You should always be aware of your surroundings when making online purchases, but we know that you can’t always protect yourself. There are numerous anti-virus software in the market that can help protect your computer and your identity. Stay smart and stay safe when making online purchases by following these simple suggestions.


Protect Yourself Against Online Scammers

Protect Yourself Against Online Scammers

Protect Yourself Against Online Scammers

With school back in session, emotions are high at the thought of a new year with new friends and new opportunities. There’s one lesson that won’t be taught in the classroom, but it’s an important one to keep in mind how to protect yourself against online scammers. If you think scammers only target old individuals with “money,” think again.

There are hundreds of scammers out there that utilize the start of a new school year as an opportunity to take your money. According to FRAUD!ORG, there are three main scams to looks out for.

  1. The Diploma Scam – If you didn’t receive your high school diploma in the traditional sense, there are some websites that claim to give you your high school equivalent diploma simply by paying a small fee and taking an online test. If someone offers this to you, run. It’s a scam.
  2. The “Student Tax” Scam – If you receive a phone call “from the IRS” about owed taxes on a student loan, it’s a scam. The IRS will always reach out by mail before any phone call is ever made.
  3. Scholarship Scams – If a company asks that you cover any fees or taxes associated with a scholarship, they are scamming you out of money. If it’s a third-party scholarship, you should always check to make sure the company is legitimate.

There are simple ways to combat online scammers. The first is to know they exist – don’t be naive and think that everyone is friendly and no one wants to steal your money. You should also always check the credibility of the site you are making a purchase from. If you have any hesitations, check with the Better Business Bureau and see if the site or company has any complaints. When browsing the internet, don’t click on pop-up ads or suspicious links that are embedded in emails, even if you know the person – they might have had their account hacked.

These are just few tips and tricks to keep your personal information safe. Be careful and don’t get scammed.


Prevent Your Child From Being Abducted

Prevent Your Child From Being Abducted

Prevent Your Child From Being Abducted

It’s a parent’s nightmare, but according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children are reported missing every year. When broken down, this equates to about 2,000 children being each day. While most of these result in a happy ending, the initial number of children being reported missing is staggering.

Kids Health breaks down the reality of some of these abductions. The majority of children who are reported missing have actually run away from their home on their own accord or there has been a miscommunication with their guardian about where they are supposed to be.

Out of the children that are truly abducted, the majority of them are taken by a family member or known family associate, only 25% of abductions are the result of a child being taken by a stranger.

So, as a parent or guardian, how do you prevent your child from being abducted and becoming another statistic? The first thing you should do is have an open and honest dialogue with your children about safety and abduction prevention. You should stress the importance of your children not getting into the car with people they do not know and not to accept candy or other forms of bribery from strangers trying to lure them away.

If you and your family are heading to a crowded public space, such as an amusement park, it is wise to identify a meeting spot in the instance you all get separated from one another. This can be a visitor’s center, information booth, the food court, a lifeguard stand, or an emergency station. An idea if you have young children that cannot remember their guardian’s information is to write it on their arm in permanent marker.

The last suggestion to prevent your child from being abducted is to invest in a children’s tracking device. These can be useful when in crowded areas or in places where your children have room to run around and play.

The thought of having your child abducted is every parent’s worst nightmare. Through proper safety and abduction prevention education, you and your family can work together to help prevent it from happening to you.


Can A Police Officer Search Your Vehicle

Can A Police Officer Search Your Vehicle

Can A Police Officer Search Your Vehicle

One of the first things an officer often does when they pull you over for a traffic infraction is take a peek inside your car. In some cases, they’ll ask you to get out of the vehicle while they do a thorough search of the interior. Watching them go through the items you have tucked in your vehicle is enough to make anyone wonder whether the search is actually legal.

Your Rights and Your Car

The letter of the law is clear when it comes to the police searching both your person or your home, but they become vaguer when the search involves your vehicle, which makes it difficult to know whether the officer who pulled you over has overstepped.

When the founding fathers started arguing about the constitution and later about the amendments they needed, they never dreamt about things like cars and all the headaches that go along with vehicles. They’re main concern involved homes. The founding fathers didn’t want to create a police state style of government so they drafted the Fourth Amendment which requires law enforcement to have a warrant before they can search your home and the items you’re carrying on your person.

When cars started becoming a common sight, the justices who were sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court at the time realized that they needed to make some changes to the Fourth Amendment. They did create a law that meant the while your vehicle is considered a private space, the items within your vehicle aren’t as heavily protected as those you keep in your home. For several decades, the vagueness of the rules for vehicles meant that no one, including police officers, really knew when the could and couldn’t search a vehicle.

Finally, in 2009, the Supreme Court finally took steps to clear up the cloudiness surrounding vehicle searchers. They ruled that there are three different situations in which an officer can search a car during a routine traffic stop.

  1. If the officer pulls a vehicle over and that leads to the arrest of the driver, the officer has the right to inspect the interior and trunk of the vehicle.
  2. If the vehicle is being impounded for some reason, the officer is allowed to inspect the vehicle, though they’re required to make an inventory of everything found within the vehicle.
  3. If the police officer has cause to believe that the driver is involved in a crime or is transporting something dangerous/illegal, they’re within their rights to search the car. If the case goes to court, the officer will have to prove that they had probable cause. Probable cause can be established if the officer looks into the windows of the vehicle and sees drugs/stolen goods/a weapon.

If the officer does have the right to search the car, anything they find within it can be used to file charges against you, charges that will be dropped if you can prove the search wasn’t entirely legal.


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