User Beware – Don’t give away your private information


I am a licensed Florida attorney serving areas in Hendry County: Labelle, Clewiston, Pioneer, Flaghole, Montura, Hooker’s Point; areas in Glades County: Buckhead Ridge, Moore Haven, Lakeport, Palmdale, and Muse; and, areas in Lee County:  Alva, Buckingham, North Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers, and Bonita Springs.
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FCSL Students assist poverty lawyers respresent poor americans


The Florida Coastal School of Law Public Interest Research Bureau (“Research Bureau”) is a student volunteer research service that provides free legal research to lawyers working for poverty law organizations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

The Research Bureau’s mission is to aid lawyers representing the poor and thus help make equal access to justice available to indigent clients in underserved communities. The Research Bureau allows students to learn critical writing and research skills and use the law to do good. Students assist poverty lawyers with critical research that may help a family from losing their home, stop an abusive debt collector from harassing a family, obtain disability benefits for an impoverished person, prevent an entire family from being evicted, or obtain due process for a poor person at risk of losing a public benefit.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Bray Natalzia, chief managing editor for FCSL’s Public Interest Research Bureau at  

Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By David Ingram 11/28/2012.

Major tobacco companies that spent decades denying they lied to the U.S. public about the dangers of cigarettes must spend their own money on a public advertising campaign saying they did lie, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.[1]

The ruling sets out what might be the harshest sanction to come out of a historic case that the Justice Department brought in 1999 accusing the tobacco companies of racketeering.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote that the new advertising campaign would be an appropriate counterweight to the companies’ “past deception” dating to at least 1964.

The advertisements are to be published in various media for as long as two years.

Details of the campaign – like how much it will cost and which media will be involved – are still to be determined and could lead to another prolonged fight.

Kessler’s ruling on Tuesday, which the companies could try to appeal, aims to finalize the wording of five different statements the companies will be required to use.

One of them begins: “A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by falsely selling and advertising low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes.”

Another statement includes the wording: “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”

The wording was applauded by health advocates who have waited years for tangible results from the case.

“Requiring the tobacco companies to finally tell the truth is a small price to pay for the devastating consequences of their wrongdoing,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-tobacco group in Washington.

Read full story via Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception – Yahoo! News.

[1] United States v. Philip Morris, Slip No. 99-cv-02496. (D.C. Cir.).

Who’s Collecting and Selling Your Information?

Companies and identity thieves can only collect information that YOU provide! You post it they use it.  You post it they sell it.  You use a discount card or a store credit card. They use, sell, and trade that information.  Information about what you purchase, how often you purchase, and where you shop.  Limiting your information is hard but it can be done. The first step in knowing how companies track your sensitive information.

Brandon Ballenger, Money Talks News, How to Stop Companies From Collecting and Selling Your Facebook Info .  If you want to keep a secret, don’t put any trace of it online. That’s something ex-CIA director David Petraeus just learned the hard way. But our lives are increasingly digital, and the government recognizes it.

In July, Congress asked nine data brokerage firms – including credit reporting agencies – what consumer information they collect, how they do it, and whether they sell it to third parties. On Nov. 8, it released those companies’ responses.

You can read the lengthy original letters and the responses here, but investigative journalism site ProPublica sums things up nicely in their article Yes, Companies Are Harvesting – and Selling – Your Facebook Profile:

Data companies of course, do not stop with the information on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Intelius, which offers everything from a reverse phone number look up to an employee screening service, said it also collects information from Blogspot, WordPress, MySpace, and YouTube.

via How to Stop Companies From Collecting and Selling Your Facebook Info – Yahoo! Finance.

How to Tell If You Have Too Many Credit Cards

By Marilen Cawad | TheStreet.comFri, Aug 17, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Are you too plastic for your own financial good? Although there is no magic number for the number of credit cards that should be in your wallet, some key questions can help you determine whether you’re charging around town with more cards than you need.

According to recent data from Experian, the average U.S. consumer has about three open and active credit cards. Whether that number is too many, too few or just enough is really a question of how one uses and manages the accounts.

If you have the tendency to spend more than you have, you might need fewer than three credit cards or none at all, says Harrison Lazarus, a financial consultant and founder of Harrison Lazarus Advisors. On the other hand, if you spend well within your means, more credit cards could be good for you. “You will be able to access money when you need it, obtain fringe benefits like rebates and mileage, and improve your credit score,” Lazarus says.

Read the full story via How to Tell If You Have Too Many Credit Cards – Yahoo! Finance.

Learn about the Bureau > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products. Phone Number (855) 411-2372.

via Learn about the Bureau > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

New Forms for FCRA Background Checks Effective January 1, 2013 | Duane Morris LLP – JDSupra

A relatively new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), created as part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, has replaced the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) as the primary rulemaking and enforcement authority for background checking of individuals under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The CFPB has issued regulations revising the Summary of Consumer Rights form used by employers, as well as two forms used by Consumer Reporting Agencies (“CRA”). The new forms take effect January 1, 2013.

The FCRA regulates employers that use CRAs to conduct background checks for hiring, promotion or other employment-related decisions. Before obtaining a consumer report about an applicant or employee, the employer must (1) provide a disclosure stating that it may request a consumer report and (2) obtain authorization from the individual. Additionally, before taking an adverse employment action based on information contained in a consumer report, the employer must provide the individual with (1) a written notice enclosing a copy of the consumer report and (2) a copy of the Summary of Consumer Rights form. This is commonly known as the “Pre-Adverse Action Notice.”

Read full story by Duane Morris LLP on 11/5/2012 New Forms for FCRA Background Checks Effective January 1, 2013 | Duane Morris LLP – JDSupra.