• Categories

  • Pages

  • Archives

Top Three Remote Access Software

No one has time these days to go back and forth between locations to access files or wait for an IT specialist to physically present to the office.  The time-saving solution is obvious – remote digital access.  Our top three remote desktop access programs are:

 

Teamviewer supports Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS, and is free for personal use. It’s probably the most obvious alternative to LogMeIn. Not only does Teamviewer offer remote support and remote management—as in you don’t necessarily have to have the remote side set up before you need to connect—it also comes with useful features like wake-on-LAN to wake up a sleeping computer and put it back to sleep when you’re finished, file transfer capabilities, clipboard passthrough and support for connecting from mobile devices like phones or tablets.  Teamviewer even supports online meetings and collaboration, so multiple people can connect to one host or share a session if they need to.

Splashtop supports Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS, and is free for personal use (up to five computers, and depending on how you use it). It’s perhaps most notable as a tool that allows you to stream audio and video across computers with minimal latency, so if you love watching movies on your tablet that are stored on your desktop but don’t want to deal with apps or compatibility issues, Splashtop is a great tool. It’s not limited to that though—You can use the applications on your remote device like you were sitting right there, manage files without transferring them first in their own native applications.

VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, is less of a specific product and more of a platform. It uses existing protocols to send keyboard and mouse actions to a remote computer, and in turn it sends the screen from that remote system back to your viewer. Depending on the VNC client and server software you use, you get more features, like clipboard syncing, file sync and transfer, and more. That’s the catch though—there’s a VNC client and server that supports every operating system, mobile and desktop, and as long as you know what you’re doing and set it up properly, you’ll be able to connect to any system you control, anywhere you have internet access, completely for free. The “Official” VNC software is RealVNC, which offers its client and server apps for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, and even Chrome for free (but will happily add features and support if you’re willing to pay for them).

Regardless of which program you decide to go with, just make sure your security protocols are up-to-date.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Which Will You Need By 2020: Standard, Enhanced Or Real I.D.?

 

Enhanced, REAL ID and Standard Licenses

Currently, there are three types of I.D.s available. (For the purposes of this article, we will refer to a) drivers licenses and b) New York State.):

Standard driver’s licenses will not be valid for federal purposes, such as flying commercially or accessing federal buildings and military bases.

Enhanced drivers licenses will require also require a U.S. Passport for boarding domestic and international flights and entering federal buildings and installations.

Real I.D. will allow immediate access to commercial domestic and foreign flights and all federal buildings and installations.

Getting a REAL ID is not mandatory but is encouraged

A REAL ID is optional and is not needed for the following:

  • Being licensed to drive
  • Voting or registering to vote
  • Entering Federal facilities that do not require a person to present identification
  • Applying for or receiving Federal benefits
  • Accessing health or life preserving services (including hospitals and health clinics), law enforcement, or constitutionally protected activities (including a defendant’s access to court proceedings)
  • Participating in law enforcement proceedings or investigations

However, by October 1, 2020, all citizens, legal residents and all other persons working or studying in the U.S. and its territories, and in situations requiring a government i.d., will be required to have a validated enhanced state I.D. or, a fed-state”Real ID”.  Below are the specifics.

What:   The REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302, enacted May 11, 2005, is an Act of Congress that modified U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for the state driver’s licenses and identification (ID) cards, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.

Data requirements

A Real ID-compliant form of identification requires, at a minimum, the following pieces of data:

  • Full legal name
  • Signature
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Unique, identifying number
  • Principal residence address
  • Resident status
  • Front-facing photograph of the applicant

Real I.D.s must also feature specific security features intended to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes. These cards must also present data in a common, machine-readable format (bar codes, Smart card technology, etc.).

The law set forth certain requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as presenting state driver’s licenses and identification cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.

Each state must agree to share its motor vehicle database with all other states. This database must include, at a minimum, all the data printed on the state drivers’ licenses and ID cards, plus drivers’ histories (including motor vehicle violations, suspensions, and points on licenses) and include resident status.

When: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security postponed the effective date of the Real ID Act implementation deadline until October 1, 2020.

After this final implementation deadline, some non-Real-ID-compliant licenses will continue to be accepted for federal purposes, provided DHS judges that the state which issued such a license is in full compliance with the Real ID Act by the final implementation deadline. However, in order for their licenses to be accepted for federal purposes, all people born after December 1, 1964 will be required to have Real-ID-compliant cards by December 1, 2014. Additionally, in order to be accepted for federal purposes, people born before December 1, 1964 will be required to have Real-ID-compliant cards by December 1, 2017.

Please visit www.dhs.gov for more REAL ID info.

Why: Doesn’t matter.  It’s federal law.

The above are facts.  My opinion:

The above very brief summary in no way reflects all of the conditions and definitions set forth in that actual law.  I foresee a ton of litigation, especially related to state-sharing agreements, insurance company interaction and immigration status.

Our Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Asset Searches: Defined By Matter Type and Scope

(Contact Beacon Network Investigations)

Generally, an asset search investigation is requested to determine a subject’s tangible assets-  quite often, ordered by a guardian ad litem to satisfy the court that there are no other recoverable assets when injuries exceed insurance policy limits, and just as often to determine financial stability of a prospective partner or employee, (the latter in a position of fiduciary trust).

 

A basic checklist for the legal professional is to:

1. Relay the need-to-know reason to your investigative specialist. A business partnership dissolution v. a medmal case requires a very different focus.

2. Obtain as much lead information from your client as possible. The more information the investigative specialist is given, quite often, the more she can return and, in a more cost-effective manner.

3. Local hard records are often more reliable than those compiled into generalized databases. The first step in recording any asset begins at a local level. Many information companies provide “nationwide” database information. The drawbacks to commencing an asset search on a “dumping ground” database basis first, however, are

a) records update lag (delays up to 18 months),

b) incorrect data collection errors (many nationwide databases can return results only with exact names – misspellings will often register “no hit” status) and

c) incomplete information.

Another aspect of an asset search is a true analysis of the date factors. For e.g., a real estate asset search may return with a negative hit for current property ownership but check the sale dates of the subject’s latest residences.  All too often we’ve come across a recent home sale, leaving the subject with a large sum of money.  Always pay attention to timelines.

So now you, the attorney,  have the subject’s tangible assets information. The subject owns a CPW pied-a-terre, a home in the Kensington section of Great Neck and a boat docked at the Huguenot Marina. The next step, from an investigative standpoint should be to determine if the subject has any liens, judgments, bankruptcies and other pending litigation, and from there, conduct a full criminal background check.

So how far is far enough with an asset search? Assess the potential settlement/judgment. For a large settlement/judgment, request a full background and asset search (certain convictions can prohibit a person from holding officer position in a business); medium settlement/judgment: basic background and asset search and for a small judgment: a basic asset search.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, be safe.

Favorite Tools Of The Professional P.I. – And Others Who Work For A Living

pi-tools

I’m often asked which tools simplify my life as a private investigator. The top three on my list are:

  1. Truthful witnesses
  2. Forthcoming clients
  3. PayPal for Business

Aside from that:

Evernote – I scan and save important documents and things I may want to refer to later when browsing the web.

Bitly – I share links on social media, in emails and when writing reports dozens of times daily. Bitly helps me shorten those long, ugly links. I also have a cool branded link for my business if that is interesting for you.

Zapier – This helps me automate tasks between web apps. So if I put a new client into QuickBooks, Zapier automatically adds their contact details into my client newsletter in MailChimp or WordPress. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Social Media and Content Marketing

Constant Contact – With Constant Contact, you can schedule, publish and analyze all your social media posts in one place.

Canva – I use Canva to create images for social media, blog posts and just about anything else. It can instantly turn you into an amateur graphic designer.

Feedly – Add your favorite blogs and websites to start filling up your feed with content that rocks.

Google Analytics – Easily track site traffic and visitor behavior to see how your content is performing.

File Sharing

Dropbox – Dropbox has become synonymous with online file sharing, and for a good reason.

Business

QuickBooks Online – We switched from QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online about four years ago, and have not looked back. It’s become better and better every year.

Google Docs – I use Google Apps for Work and Google Docs to collaborate with other investigators on documents. It’s the best collaborator that I have worked with for things like word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office 365 – Even though I am huge fan of Google Docs, I still use Microsoft Office to write reports. In part, because Google Docs does not have all of the advanced formatting options that Microsoft Word does.

Security

LastPass – With access to hundreds of databases and websites, it’s not easy keeping track of passwords. But LastPass stores difficult-to-crack, encrypted passwords in the cloud that can be used on multiple platforms.

Google Authenticator – I am a huge proponent of two-factor authentication, which protects your accounts with a second form of authentication by adding an extra layer of security to your account. Google Authenticator protects your account with both your password and your phone, by providing a “secret” code so that nobody can get in.

StrongVPN – A VPN secures your computer’s internet connection to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. I have been using StrongVPN for several years without a glitch, primarily because it allows me to have a static IP, but there are a number of great services out there.

Website Hosting / WordPress Theme

Synthesis – I used a number of different web hosts for the first few years until I came across Synthesis. It’s probably not the cheapest service out there, but it’s reliable and fast, and the support is great.

StudioPress Themes for WordPress – If you like the way this website looks, then you need to have a WordPress site from StudioPress. These are the best WordPress themes out there.

Editing

ProofreadNOW.com – I can write like the wind, but I am no grammarian. I leave that up to ProofreadNOW.com. For a nominal fee, they will have professional proofreaders make sure that every blog post I write has every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Uncovering the Bullies: Monitoring Your Child’s Cell Phone

It is rare that we release information that can be used in a negative manner but our concern over the sharp rise of child suicides – often due to bullying –  has caused us to take this unusual step to inform those who need to know: how to monitor their child’s cell phone.  (For those who choose to use this information for nefarious purposes – don’t be a jackass. That you need to rely on this article to spy on someone proves that you are clueless. You will be caught – your spying activity on others, without their express permission, is illegal.)

mSpy (Spy App for iPhone)

mSpy is very easy to use. All you have to do is install the mSpy app on the target phone and then activate it using your license code. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to monitor the phone’s activity remotely through the mSpy online portal.

Once mSpy is activated, you can log in to the online portal to access information collected from the target phone such as messages (texts, WhatsApp and other messaging apps), phone calls, browsing history, and GPS location. mSpy is easy to use but also has many advanced features including social media monitoring, keylogger, no-jailbreak version, parental controls and more.

  • Social Media Monitoring: mSpy tracks your child’s activity on Facebook, Snapchat, Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype.
  • Keylogger: It records every keystroke made by the user. If your child uses an instant messaging app that mSpy can’t track directly, you can still see every keystroke typed.
  • No Jailbreak Solution: The mSpy iPhone spy software allows you to spy on your child’s iPhone without jailbreaking it. This technique works by pulling data from iCloud backups. You will need to know your child’s Apple ID and password.
  • Parental Controls: mSpy can be used as a parental control software for mobile phone. It allows parents to block inappropriate websites and incoming calls. In addition, you can control which apps can be used and when on your child’s phone.
  • Price: mSpy Basic costs $29.99 per month; mSpy Premium costs $69.99 per month or $199.99 per year.

 

Highster Mobile (Spy App for Android)

Highster Mobile is also simple to install and use.  Just download and install it onto the target phone, enter your license key, and you are good to go.  There are no settings or options to configure. After installation, you can log into your account and start tracking.

While Highster doesn’t have as many features as mSpy, but it’s a great app for those who want to spy on an Android phone without rooting or unlocking the phone. It has most of the features you’ll likely need.

  • Real-time GPS Tracking: Know where they are at all times and know where they are going. Track their cell phone location history & current location. Locations are displayed on a map on the company’s website.
  • Text Message Monitoring: Read their text messages, even those that have been deleted. Keeps a running record of all text messages sent and received.
  • View Call Logs: View the phone’s call history, including calls made, calls received, calls missed, phone numbers, and the date, time, and duration of the calls.
  • View Photos: All of the photos on their phone will be uploaded to your account.
  • View Browsing History: Track which websites they’ve visited and what they’ve searched for.
  • View Contacts, Calendar & Apps: View their contacts, calendar entries and installed apps.
  • Social Media Monitoring: Monitor different social media apps they use and who they talk to, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and even Snapchat messages. This feature, however, is only available on rooted devices. (If you do not know what this means (rooting or jailbreaking), or the consequences, don’t even think about it.)
  • Price: It only costs a one-time fee of $69.99 – making it one of the cheapest spy apps on the market today.

There are more high-end cell phone spy apps that have many more features: such as recording phone calls and even surroundings but we suggest training wheels at first.  This is your child, not an international, deep-cover spy.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

3 Tools To Easily Unsubscribe From Emails

emails
(Our tip today comes from PCWorld.)

3 tools that easily unsubscribe you from emails

Use these services to get rid of unwanted messages and reclaim your inbox.

 

Unroll.me: This free service uses a simple web interface to surface all your subscriptions and let you unsubscribe from each with a single click.

Unroll.me displays all your subscriptions and lets you unsubscribe from each with a single click.

Just go to Unroll.me and sign in with your Google, Yahoo!, Outlook, or AOL account (if your provider is not one of those, you can sign in with your email address). Unroll.me then displays a list of all you subscriptions with three options next to each one: Add to Rollup, Unsubscribe, or Keep in Inbox. Click the Unsubscribe button next to each one you no longer want to receive.

Inevitably there will be some subscriptions you want to keep. In those cases, click Add to Rollup to have them added to a daily digest of newsletters to be sent to you each morning, afternoon, or evening. Rollups can be viewed as a list or grid, and you can add or remove subscriptions from them at any time. You can also opt to have Unroll.me notify you monthly of your new subscriptions.

Unlistr: Unlistr lets you keep or unsubscribe to email with the push of a button.
Similar to Unroll.me, Unlistr finds all your email subscriptions and allows you to easily opt out of them on iOS, Android, or in Outlook.

Once you sign in with your email account, Unlistr asks you to choose an inbox or folder to clean up. It then scans that selection and presents you with a list of senders. For each one, you just tap the radial button next to it then select either the Keep or Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the screen. Be sure about your decisions, though, as Unlistr warns that any subscriptions you “keep” will be ignored in future scans.

Unlistr is free for iOS and Android but requires a $20 annual subscription for Outlook.

Unsubscriber: With Unsubcriber, there’s no new app to download or separate interface to use. It allows you to unsubscribe from senders from right inside your email client.

Once you sign in on the Unsubscriber website with your email account, this service adds a new “Unsubscribe” folder to your inbox. Just drag unwanted messages into it, and those senders won’t show up in your inbox anymore. The process is similar in your mobile device’s email app.

All the email senders in this folder are compiled in an Unsubscribed list on the Unsubscriber website, from which you can resubscribe to any email.

Unsubscriber is free to use.

I’m going to take my own advice and finally (perhaps) attack these 33,000+ emails I’ve ignored for a few months. Years.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

International Travel- Important Info

Parents are planning their family vacations, exhausted professionals scheduling their foreign getaways – good and necessary breaks to rebalance focus and energy.

Below are several tips for foreign travel that you should know.

  1. Local emergency numbers

 

local emergency numbers

 

 

      2. U. S. Embassies, Consulates Diplomatic MIssions worldwide

https://www.usembassy.gov/

 

     3. Real ID: What is it, who is required to have it to travel and the mandatory deadline set by the Department of Homeland Security for all travelers to have this type enhanced driver’s license or government i.d. 

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. Compliance by all states is mandatory by October 1, 2020.

See where your state stands n regard to compliance: https://www.dhs.gov/real-id

Get your documents in order and always have the consulate and emergency numbers info on hand when you travel outside of the United States.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

 

Definitions Of Defamation, Slander And Libel

Differences Between Defamation, Slander, and Libel

Credit: Brett Sember, Esq., reprinted by permission

Defamation, slander, and libel are terms that frequently confused with each other. They all fall into the same category of law and have to do with communications that falsely debase someone’s character.

Defamation Definition

What is defamation? Defamation is a false statement presented as a fact that causes injury or damage to the character of the person it is about. An example is “Tom Smith stole money from his employer.” If this is untrue and if making the statement damages Tom’s reputation or ability to work, it is defamation. The person whose reputation has been damaged by the false statement can bring a defamation lawsuit.

Defamation of character happens when something untrue and damaging is presented as a fact to someone else. Making the statement only to the person the statement is about (“Tom, you’re a thief”) is not defamation because it does not damage that person’s character in anyone else’s eyes.

Importance of Intent

Another crucial part of a defamation case is that the person makes the false statement with a certain kind of intent. The statement must have been made with knowledge that it was untrue or with reckless disregard for the full truth (meaning the person who said it knew that they were negatively shading the truthfulness but said it anyhow). If the person being defamed is a private citizen and not a celebrity or public figure, defamation can also be proven when the statement was made with negligence as to determining its truth (the person speaking should have known it was false or should have questioned it). This means it is easier to prove defamation when you are a private citizen. There is a higher standard required if you are a public figure.

Some states have laws that automatically make certain statements defamation. Any false statement that a person has committed a serious crime, has a serious infectious disease, or is incompetent in his profession are automatically defamatory under these laws.

Slander and Libel Definition

What is SlanderWhat is LibelLibel and slander are both types of defamation. Libel is an untrue defamatory statement that is made in writing. Slander is an untrue defamatory statement that is spoken orally. The difference between defamation and slander is that a defamatory statement can be made in any medium. It could be in a blog comment or spoken in a speech or said on television. Libelous acts only occur when a statement is made in writing (digital statements count as writing) and slanderous statements are only made orally.

You may have heard of seditious libel. The Sedition Act of 1798 made it a crime to print anything false about the government, president, or Congress. The Supreme Court later modified this when it enacted the rule that a statement against a public figure is libel only if it known to be false or the speaker had a reckless disregard for the truth when making it.

Damages for Defamation

Suing for slander, libel, or defamation brings a civil suit in a state court and alleges that under the slander laws or libel laws of that state the person who brought about the lawsuit was damaged by the conduct of the person who made the false statement. A libel or slander lawsuit seeks monetary damages for harm caused by the statement, such as pain and suffering, damage to the plaintiff’s reputation, lost wages or a loss of ability to earn a living, and personal emotional reactions such as shame, humiliation, and anxiety.

Defamation is an area of law that protects people’s reputations by allowing them recourse if false statements are made about them. This type of civil case is an effective way to protect your reputation.

==========================================================================

Our advice is simple:  If you’re being defamed, assess the source.  If the actions of your defamer have the real potential to harm you or your reputation, personally or professionally, consult an attorney and have your lawyer issue a cease and desist letter immediately.  If the harmful comments being made about you are from a source that is not respected and generally known to be an incompetent, jealous or otherwise petty person, your relationships with your family, friends and business contacts will not be affected.  Let the offender wallow in her undoubtedly miserable life.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Assisted Living Facility Injuries

broken hip

Collectively, we are living longer.  That’s the good news.  Increased age, however, may become problematic in selecting one’s residence in latter years.  Often, health concerns prohibit our elderly family members from living at home or with family.  As potential caregivers, we wish to make parents and grandparents as comfortable as possible but if there are medical or housing issues, our desires are secondary to proper daily healthcare and well-being management.   Often, families and seniors look to assisted living facilities for elder residential and medical care.  The hope is to find a caring and attentive senior living facility but that is all too often not the case. Generally through negligence rather than malevolence, elderly people in these type of institutions are getting hurt- too often, from preventative injuries such as hip fractures.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that there are around 300,000 people in this age group who suffer from a broken hip each year. Of those, 20 to 30% will be dead within 12 months of the injury, and many others show a significant decrease in their functional abilities.

 

Main Causes of Broken Hips in the Elderly

The main causes of broken hips in the elderly are slips and falls. In an assisted living facility, falls are fairly common.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average 100-bed nursing home reports 100 to 200 falls each year and that around 1,800 patients who fall die from their injuries.

There are many reasons that seniors in nursing homes may fall. Their muscles are weaker, their balance may be off, vertigo, poor eyesight and the physical limitations of moving from one place to another.  However, these problems are often exacerbated by negligence within the nursing home.

Of the reported falls each year, around 27% are due to environmental hazards. Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Wet floors
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Wheelchairs and beds that are not properly fitted to the patient
  • Improper monitoring and not providing assistance

Each of these hazards is preventable, and they are considered nursing home neglect when a patient is injured.

A thorough investigation should include a through review of the resident’s medical records, daily activity reports, maintenance records, incident reports, prior litigation involving the facility, identifying and interviewing potential witnesses, and many other factors that will become evident once an investigation is underway.

Broken hips in the elderly are serious, and when they occur due to nursing home abuse or negligence, you need to contact a lawyer for assistance to determine your rights in the situation.

Facebook Quizzes, Cute And A Perfect Tool For Identity Thieves.

Just about everyone on Facebook has been drawn to taking one of those “Share with your friends” quizzes – the last widely spread lure being “What Is Your Elf On A Shelf Name?”.  Full disclosure: I was halfway through that one myself when I realized what I do for a living. <facepalm>  In my defense, who doesn’t love a good quiz?  Aside from my Elf name, I was curious to know which Disney princess I am and what food matches my personality. Not smart.

Quite a few police departments have issued a Facebook quiz scam alert, warning that those “harmless” quizzes may not actually be all that harmless after all.

Think about the security questions we have to answer to just about every one of our online accounts – banking, credit reporting agencies, even Expedia, etc.   Who was your first-grade teacher? What was your favorite pet’s name? What’s the first name of your childhood best friend?  By providing this information in a social media quiz, you may be handing hackers the keys to your identity.  Hackers then build a profile of you through several different data sources.

An example of how quiz scamming works:

This quiz uses the first letter of your first name and your birth month to determine your “Elf” name. So, when you post your response, online hackers can figure out your birth month and then click through to your profile page to get more information.

facebook quiz scam alert

A nugget of information in isolation may not seem like a big deal, but combining that with other data that may be out there can result in a greater threat,” says Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist for the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Be mindful of photos or posts that could give away information about your location or self (like your birthday) and consider if you are posting something that could be used to locate you offline or make it easier for someone to figure out any of your passwords.”

While the person posting and sharing these quizzes usually has innocent intentions, your response puts the information out there for all to see. That can be scammers or, as the Better Business Bureau points out, data mining companies who sell your information to other businesses.

With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, please resist the urge to respond to “What Does Your Valentine’s Day Cookie Say?” or “What Will Happen To You This Valentine’s Day”.  I can answer those two questions for you right now: 1. “If all you got for Valentine’s Day was this lousy cookie, consider dating someone else.” and “A lot or nothing.” There you go: informed, safe and sound.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

%d bloggers like this: