Is Computer Tech Support Really Calling to Help You?

Does the thought of losing everything on your computer leave you queasy? That’s the anxiety fraudsters attempt to exploit with tech support scams – and it’s conduct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and law enforcement partners are challenging through 16 civil and criminal (yes, criminal) actions announced as part of Operation Tech Trap.

Tech support scammers’ modus operandi is to run ads that resemble pop-up security alerts from Microsoft, Apple, or other companies. Consumers are warned that their computers are infected with viruses or are under hack attack. Some pop-ups even feature a countdown clock, supposedly showing the time remaining before the hard drive will be fried – unless the consumer calls a toll-free number supposedly affiliated with one of those big-name companies.

Once operators have consumers on the phone, the real theatrics begin. Operators claim to need remote access to consumers’ computers so they can run “diagnostic tests.” Those tests purport to reveal grave problems that can only be solved by one of their “certified technicians” – for a hefty fee, of course. Companies use high-pressure tactics to strong-arm consumers into paying hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services. (Here’s an example of a pitch in action from the FTC.)

 

In settling a case against Click4Support LLC and others, the FTC and AGs from Connecticut and Pennsylvania announced that the defendants are banned from marketing technical support services, will pay a total of more than $554,000, and will forfeit an additional $1.3 million held by the court-appointed receiver. A federal judge in Philadelphia also entered a $27 million default judgment against a related party.

But that’s not all. There have been several other similar cases brought by the FTC.

How does this boil down for you or your business?

  • Consumers get caught in tech support scammers’ web, but so do small businesses and people who work from home. The FTC has updated its advice on what you can do to protect yourself. Also, the FTC will be hosting a roundtable this summer for law enforcement agencies leading the charge against this kind of fraud and for businesses affected by tech support scams, including companies whose names have been misused by con artists. Looking for tips on spotting other B2B scams? The FTC’s new Protecting Small Businesses site is designed with you in mind.
  • People who participate in tech support scams aren’t just risking their assets and future livelihoods. They could face criminal prosecution.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, including assistance with policies, prevention or recovery from a ransomware attack and cybersecurity insurance or insurance claims, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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Cybersecurity Strengthened with Executive Order

STRENGTHENING THE CYBERSECURITY OF FEDERAL NETWORKS AND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTUREwh_logo_seal

President Donald Trump on May 11, 2017 signed an executive order (EO) on cybersecurity that requires agency heads to enhance the security of their networks, systems, and data, as well as requires their adoption of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) cybersecurity risk framework of best security practices.

The EO has been in the works for a while and revised a few times.  Among the key elements is a call for modernizing and consolidating government network technologies and infrastructures; a report on the technology supply chain risks to the US Department of Defense; support for security of critical infrastructure; an assessment of cyberattack and disruption of the nation’s power grid; and a call for skilled cybersecurity talent.

“Effective immediately, each agency head shall use The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the Framework) developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or any successor document, to manage the agency’s cybersecurity risk.  Each agency head shall provide a risk management report to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 90 days of the date of this order,” according to the EO.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, including assistance with policies, prevention or recovery from a ransomware attack and cybersecurity insurance or insurance claims, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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New FTC Website Helps Small Businesses Avoid Scams and Cyber Attacks

Attacks can be especially devastating to small businesses; FTC provides information on how businesses can protect themselvesftc

At the direction of Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a new website – ftc.gov/SmallBusiness – with articles, videos, and other information aimed at helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks and other threats.

“Small businesses are critical to our economic strength, building America’s future, and helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace,” Acting Chairman Ohlhausen said. “This innovative new website is a one-stop shop where small businesses can find information to protect themselves from scammers and hackers, as well as resources they can use if they are hit with a cyberattack.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people. Scammers frequently target small businesses with deceptive tactics designed to get them to pay for supplies they didn’t order, donate to fake charities or trick them into giving access to their network or downloading malware that can corrupt their business’s computers.

Cyberattacks can be particularly devastating to small businesses, and many of them lack the resources that larger companies have to devote to cybersecurity. Symantec Corp.’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report indicates the percentage of spear-phishing attacks targeting small business rose dramatically from 18 percent to 43 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The FTC’s new web page offers specific information to help small businesses protect their networks and their customer data. This includes a new Small Business Computer Security Basics guide, which shares computer security basics to help companies protect their files and devices, train employees to think twice before sharing the business’s account information, and keep their wireless network protected, as well as how to respond to a data breach. It also has information on other cyber threats such as ransomware and phishing schemes targeting small businesses. The FTC is continuing to work with the SBA on additional ways to help small businesses.

If you or your business have questions or concerns regarding fraud, computer law, privacy, or cybersecurity law matters, including assistance with policies, prevention or recovery from a ransomware attack and cybersecurity insurance or insurance claims, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices.

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Pennsylvania’s Powelson to Join FERC from PaPUC

FERC

President Donald J. Trump announced May 8, 2017 his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:

Neil Chatterjee of Kentucky to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the term expiring June 30, 2021. Mr. Chatterjee is energy policy advisor to United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Over the years he has played an integral role in the passage of major energy, highway, and farm legislation. Prior to serving Leader McConnell, he worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio. He began his career in Washington, DC, with the House Committee on Ways and Means. A Lexington, Kentucky native, he is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

powelsonRobert F. Powelson of Pennsylvania to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the term expiring June 30, 2020. Commissioner Powelson has served as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) since 2008. Commissioner Powelson was first nominated to the PUC on June 19, 2008, by Governor Edward G. Rendell and appointed Chairman by Governor Tom Corbett in 2011. Currently, Commissioner Powelson serves as the President of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) based in Washington, DC. Commissioner Powelson serves on the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Board (EPRI) as well as the Drexel University Board of Trustees. From 1994 to 2008, Powelson served as the President and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry based in Malvern, PA. In 2005, he was selected by the Eisenhower Presidential Fellow to be a United States fellow in Singapore and Australia. Commissioner Powelson holds a Bachelor of Administration from St. Joseph’s University and a Master of Governmental Administration with a concentration in public finance from the University of Pennsylvania.

Prince Law Offices, P.C. congratulates Commissioner Powelson.  To learn how Prince Law Offices, P.C. can assist you or your business with real estate, business, FERC, or PUC matters, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.

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Pennsylvania’s “Ride on Red” law.

On July 20, 2016, Governor Wolf approved legislation that would allow motorists to proceed with caution through a red light if the vehicle presence is not detected by the signal’s detection system and fails to change to green. Act 101, more commonly know as the “ride on red” law gives anyone on the road the option to go through red lights as long as they use commons sense and caution. The law became effective on September 20, 2016.

Act 101 was introduced by Representative Stephen Bloom (R – Cumberland County) as an amendment to Title 75 (Vehicles) to create a solution for a common issue faced by motorcycle and pedalcycle riders. The intent was to allow drivers of motorcycles and pedalcycles stuck at a standstill because traffic control signals that utilize a vehicle detection system are not always able to detect motorcycles and pedacycles due to their smaller size. As a result, those cycle drivers would be forced to wait until a larger vehicle arrived and was detected by the traffic control device. Impatient riders would tire of the wait and unlawfully proceed through the intersection.

Representative Bloom’s original proposal was to allow the driver of a motorcycle or pedalcycle to proceed through the intersection only after exercising due care as provided by law. If the vehicle detection system failed to recognize the vehicle and the rider had come to a full and complete stop, the rider would make sure it was safe to continue, and proceed with caution through the intersection.

The amendment to §3112 of the motor vehicle code states, in pertinent part, if a traffic-control signal is out of operation or is not functioning properly, including, but not limited to, a signal that uses inductive loop sensors or other automated technology to detect the presence of vehicles that fails to detect a vehicle, vehicular traffic facing a Red or completely unlighted signal shall stop in the same manner as at a stop sign, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign as provided in section 3323 (relating to stop signs and yield signs).

The law does not state how long a driver should wait before assuming the light is not operating and proceed through the malfunctioning or unresponsive stop signal. Theoretically, a driver is allowed to treat the malfunctioning or unresponsive stop signal as a stop sign and the driver may use his judgment to proceed through the intersection with caution.

The problem is not every driver has the same level of patience or judgment and some may see the law as a “free pass” to go through the light. Moreover, the law does not differentiate rural areas from more congested urban areas of the state. Drivers may now argue the red light was taking too long to change and proceed through a busy intersection under the assumption it was malfunctioning. In busier traffic areas, it may create the potential for more traffic violations as well as more accidents. Impatient drivers may elect chose to go through an intersection with a properly functioning traffic signal risking their lives as well as the lives of unsuspecting oncoming drivers powerless to avoid collisions.

According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, more than 3.7 million drivers in the United States ran a red light in 2014. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says 709 people were killed and an estimated 126,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running that same year.

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Press Release: Attorney Joshua Prince To Be Admitted To Practice In Maryland

We are extremely proud to announce that Joshua Prince, Esq. has received notice from the Maryland State Board of Law Examiners that he passed the Maryland Out-of-State Attorneys’ Bar Exam that was administered in February, 2017. While he must take an orientation program, it is anticipated that he will be licensed to practice in Maryland within the next month.

Joshua looks forward to taking his Firm – the Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., including its division, Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) – and his dedication to defending our inalienable right to keep and bear arms to Maryland and establishing beneficial precedent in Maryland, as he has done here in Pennsylvania.

Please join us in congratulating him on this monumental achievement.

 


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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Firearm Preemption Passes Senate With Veto-Proof Vote

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 5 with a vote of 34 to 16, which is a 2/3rds majority veto-proof vote; however, the vote could have been even stronger if three republicans – Senators Greenleaf, Killion and McGarrigle – had not voted against it. 

At the last minute, there were five amendments proposed to Senate Bill 5 of which only one passed. That one provides that the Attorney General shall provide, within 30 days of enactment, notice of the new law to every municipality. Furthermore, the sections of Senate Bill 5 that provide for preemption and enforcement would not be effective for 60 days. What appears lost in relation to this amendment is the fact that firearm preemption has existed since 1979 and it has been a misdemeanor of the 1st degree. Furthermore, there appears to be some thought that unlike us mere peasants, who do not receive personal notification of new laws that are enacted, that municipalities are of a privileged class that deserve personal notification of the fact that their existing ordinances and regulations are in violation of the law.

While Senate Bill 5 is not perfect for other additional issues that I flagged for those capable of resolving them, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Senate Bill 5 now moves to the House of Representatives for a vote.

There are three things that must be done:

  1. If you are a constituent of Senator Boscola, please contact her and let her know that you appreciate her vote in favor of holding municipalities accountable.
  2. If you are a constituent of Senators Senators Greenleaf, Killion or McGarrigle, please let them know that their vote against holding municipalities accountable will have consequences in their next election.
  3. Please contact your House Representative member and ask them to vote in favor of SB 5.

Together, we can ensure that municipalities stop violating the law and are held accountable.

If your rights have been violated by an illegal firearm ordinance or regulation, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., to discuss your legal rights.


Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademarkand division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.

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