Monthly Archives

January 2020

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Beware of the IRS Mail Scam Going Around
Most people are just trying to live their life. They don’t want any trouble and do everything that they can to avoid it. Whenever some government official or law enforcement officer tells them to do something, they do it, often without question. Every law abiding citizen does that. Unfortunately, even that can get a person into trouble if they are not careful.

Sadly, there are people out there who don’t exactly follow the rules, and they like to cause trouble. Their favorite people to target are the ones who are afraid of causing trouble. These bad people create scams that trick good people into giving them money or risk getting into trouble with the law.

If people want to avoid something like this, then they need to be aware of all of the different scams out there and how scammers like to operate.

IRS Mail Scam

A common scam, especially around tax season, is for scammers to send letters to potential victims. The letters arrive via the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is one of the primary forms of communication that the IRS actually uses. This adds a layer of believability to the scam. The phony letters almost perfectly replicate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms stating that the person is behind on some type of payment or something of that nature.

The letters will often state that a discrepancy was found on the victims tax returns and that they owe the IRS some amount of money. One obvious red flag that people should be aware of when it comes to scams is that the scammer will try to intimidate the victim. This can be done in a number of ways, but often involves threatening to arrest the individual or getting the police involved. The IRS would never do that.

Another warning sign involves how they ask for payments. Often times, the scammers will request money be paid immediately and in certain, untraceable ways. This way, once they have the money, there is nothing the victim can do about it. Some preferred methods include:

  • Prepaid cards
  • Gift cards
  • Money transfers

The IRS would never demand money immediately, and they definitely wouldn’t accept these kinds of payments. Anyone asking or demanding for this kind of payment is clearly a scammer.

The Best Way to Be Sure

Probably one of the best ways to check on whether or not something claiming to be from the IRS is a scam is to just contact the IRS. If a person receives a letter in the mail stating there was a discrepancy on their tax returns and they are unsure of the authenticity of the letter, then they should call the IRS.

Finding contact information for the agency is as easy as going to their website: IRS.gov. A person can then call up and talk to someone who actually knows something in order to confirm whether or not the letter is real.

Contacting the IRS may not be the most fun thing in the world to do, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t Get Scammed

No hard working individual ever wants to scammed out of their money, but they also don’t want to get into any trouble with law enforcement. That fear of getting into trouble is what scammers feed off of. They want to scare their victims into acting without thinking things through enough to see the cracks in their scam. This is why it is always best for a person to take a step back and think things through. Doing so could easily help a person see the scam for what it is.

Have you received a letter claiming to be from the IRS that states you owe money on your taxes? If so, be sure to really examine that letter, and talk to the actual IRS to confirm the letter’s authenticity to avoid being conned.

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Is It Legal to Drive With an Animal on Your Lap?

Pretty much every pet owner out there has a furry companion that they would do everything they can for. Some pet owners love their critters so much that they take them everywhere they go. This seems like a harmless and fun way for a person to spend time with their beloved companion, however it can be dangerous and even illegal in some states.

Laws from Across the Country

Across the nation, different states have different rules about how pets can be transported in cars. This can make driving through different states with a furry companion that much harder. Any driver looking to take their pet somewhere, especially on road trips, needs to be aware of these laws. If they aren’t, they could inadvertently end up in trouble with the law.

Some states, such as Hawaii and Arizona, have specific laws that make it illegal to drive with a pet in the person’s lap or in the driver’s immediate vicinity. Other states such as Maine and Connecticut can use their state’s distracted driving laws against drivers with pets on their lap.

The state of New Jersey takes things a step further. In this state, officers can stop any driver who improperly transports an animal, such as driving with the animal in their lap, and charge the person with animal cruelty. A person found guilty of this can face fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 dollars and can even face up to 6 months of jail time.

California Law

Here in California, the laws surrounding the transportation of animals are surprisingly lax. The state only has one law regarding the transportation of animals in vehicles, and it applies to pick-up trucks.

Vehicle Code (VC) 23117 states that no driver should transport an animal in the back of a vehicle in a space intended for any load unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks that are at least 46 inches high, has installed means of preventing the animal from getting out, or the animal is in a cage.

Basically, this means an animal can’t be carried in the bed of a truck unless the sides of the truck are higher than 46 inches, the animal is tied to the bed of the truck, or the animal is in a cage of some sort. This means that as long as an animal is in an enclosed space, such as the interior of the car, they are being transported safely and correctly.

This law does not apply to the transportation of livestock or the transportation of a ranch dog for ranching/farming purposes.

The consequences of breaking this law for the first time come with a fine ranging from $50 to $100. A second or any subsequent offense within a year will earn a person a fine ranging from $75 to $200.

Why These Laws Exist

The important fact to remember is that these laws exist for safety reasons. Transporting the animal safely keeps not only the critter safe, but the driver as well. A pet owner wants to make sure that in the event of an accident, their companion stays safe. This means keeping it safe and secure in the vehicle.

On top of the pet’s safety, there is the driver’s safety to consider as well. Everyone knows how dangerous distracted driving can be. What people may not realize is just how many things can be considered distracted driving besides using cellphones. Having to deal with a pet, especially one that is on the driver’s lap, can be very distracting. If the driver becomes too engrossed in whatever their pet is doing in their car, they could cause an accident.

What do you think of all of these different takes on laws surrounding the transportation of animals? Which state has your favorite law and which one takes things too far? Does California need to update its own animal transportation and distracted driving laws? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

New California Laws for 2020

New California Laws for 2020

By | Carls Bail Bonds

New California Laws for 2020

T
he start of the new year brings a lot of changes for everyone. For many people, the new year is the perfect time to for self-improvement through New Year’s Resolutions. However, this isn’t the change that we are talking about.

Every year, lawmakers discuss and debate new laws. When they agree on a law, it is assigned a date when the law will go into effect. Typically, this date is January 1st of the following year. This is why the new year always brings new laws with it.

Due to the fact that new laws appear each year, it is very important for people to pay attention to the changes or else they could find themselves in trouble for doing something that is no longer legal.

Some New California Laws for 2020

Each year in California, law makers vote on dozens of laws to decide whether or not they should be enacted. Due to the sheer volume of laws being considered, even if a lot of laws are rejected, there are still plenty that get added each year. Here is just a sample of some of the laws going into effect on January 1st, 2020:

  • Assembly Bill (AB) 5 – Forces companies to reevaluate all contract workers and consider them employees, with full benefits, unless they can prove that the worker is a contractor based on certain requirements.
  • AB 9 – Extends the time period in which employees can make claims of discrimination and harassments against companies from 1 year to 3 years.
  • AB 12 – Makes it so law enforcement officers can request firearm restraining orders against an individual. Also makes it so that courts can adjust the length of the restraining order’s time period to be anywhere from 1 to 5 years in length. AB 25 (California Consumer Privacy Act) – Requires businesses that collect digital information about consumers to alert consumers to what information is being collected, allow the consumer to deny the collection and selling of that information, and to allow the consumer to request a company to delete any information it may have collected on the consumer. Also allows consumers whose information got stolen to sue the company that allowed the theft to occur.
  • AB 178 – Requires all new homes being built in California after January 1st, 2020 to have solar panels installed on them.
  • AB218 – Expands what counts as childhood sexual abuse, reclassifies childhood sexual abuse as childhood sexual assault, and extends the statute of limitations for reporting such incidents from 8 years to 22 years.
  • AB 272– Makes it so that governing bodies of schools can decided if and when students can use cell phones while at school and in classes. Also sets specific circumstances when a school cannot prevent a student from using a cell phone.
  • AB 317 – Makes it an infraction for a person to sell their appointment with the DMV to someone else.
  • AB 377 – Modifies different aspects of microenterprise home kitchens. Notably, prohibits microenterprise home kitchens from producing and selling any and all dairy products, modifies how these operations are inspected, and prohibits microenterprise home kitchens from using the word catering in any advertisements.
  • AB 391 – Reduces the amount of time a company has to wait to report a rental or leased vehicle as stolen after a failure to return from 5 days to 72 hours.
  • AB 392 – Redefines when it is acceptable for a police officer to use deadly force.

New Laws for the New Year

This is just a small sample of all of the laws that were voted for over the last year. Some of them affect the general populace more than others. Regardless, it is always important for a person to stay up to date on all the new laws coming into effect at the start of each year. Failing to do so is a great way for a person wind up in unexpected trouble.

What do you think of some of these new laws for 2020? Do some take things too far? Are others long overdue? Are there any new laws that you know about that you feel should have been on this list? If so, share them in the comments below and help other people stay in the know.

How to Stay Safe with Ride Share Services

How to Stay Safe with Ride Share Services

By | Carls Bail Bonds

How to Stay Safe with Ride Share Services

One of the many great services to come out of the digital age is ride sharing. Apps like Uber and Lyft have made getting a ride to or from just about anywhere incredibly convenient. All a person has to do is pull up the app on their phone and a driver will soon be on their way.

Unfortunately, as great as this new tech is, there are still some problems. As with anything good, there are people out there who want to take advantage of it. Some people are just bad at driving people around, while others are purposefully looking for ways to take advantage of people. When hiring a ride through these services, a person needs to be careful so that they don’t end up in any sort of danger.

Ride Share Safety Tips

When a person is hiring a Lyft, Uber, or any other sort of ride sharing driver, they should try following these tips to help keep themselves safe.

    Alert the driver to being tracked. People are more likely to commit crimes when they think they can get away with it. Let a driver know that the ride is being tracked. This can be done by calling someone while in the car and saying something like: “I’m in my Uber and on my way. I’ll be there in 15 minutes and you can track the ride on the app.” If a person doesn’t want to call someone at an odd hour, they can always leave a voice memo to themselves but pretend it’s a call.

      Be a good passenger. This means a person should always wear their seatbelt, avoid distracting the driver, and never ask the driver to do anything dangerous.

        Be courteous to others. When riding with other passengers, be polite and kind to them as well as to the driver.
        Check driver’s ratings. Driver’s with bad ratings typically have those ratings for a reason and should be avoided.
        Choose seats carefully. Try to avoid sitting in the front when possible. Sitting in the back can put space between the rider and the driver and offers two doors to exit from rather than just one. A person should try to pick a seat that allows them to see the road, to make sure the driver is going the right way. A good driver won’t mind where a passenger sits, so beware of drivers who insist on someone sitting in a certain spot.
        Don’t get personal. There is no reason to give personal information, such as a last name, phone number, or social media information, to a driver. There is also never a need to pay a driver in person. That is always handled through the app. Lastly, if a person is getting a ride home, they should have the driver drop them off somewhere safe and close to their own house, but not at the address itself to avoid giving away a home address.
        Make sure the driver drives safely. Every driver should follow the rules of the road, especially drivers who are doing so professionally.
        Report sketchy incidents. If anything happens that raises some alarms, report it on the app once safe. This can help prevent something bad from happening to someone else.
        Ride with others. Everyone knows that there is strength in numbers, and the same is true for getting a ride. Try to ride with other people whenever possible.
        Share trip information. Both Uber and Lyft allow users to share their trip with trusted contacts. This way, friends and family members will receive live updates on where the passenger’s phone is to know if the car is going the right way.
        Trust yourself. Even if we may not know why, we often are pretty good at picking up on bad situations. If a person’s gut is telling them something is off, they should listen to it. A person should always prioritize their safety over their passenger rating.
        Verify the vehicle. A person should always make sure that the vehicle that showed up is the one listed on their phone. Not just the make and model but also the license plate as well. Also make sure that the driver matches their photo on the app.
        Wait in safety. When waiting for a ride, be sure to wait in a safe area that is well-lit. For instance, request the ride from inside a well-lit and populated building and only go out once the driver has arrived.
        Watch for traffic. Always check for traffic before entering or exiting a vehicle. No one wants to get hit by a car.
        What’s my name? Never get straight into a car. Instead, a person should approach the driver and ask them what their name is. The official driver will know the name of the person they are there to pick up and the person’s destination as well

      Stay Safe

      Ride sharing apps and companies like Lyft and Uber are great ways for people to get around. This is especially important around the holiday season as people are busy going to parties and having fun. With services like this, they are able to drink as much as they want and still secure a safe ride home.

      While most ride sharing drivers are safe people, there are some out there that aren’t so great. These drivers should be avoided when possible and a person should always follow the tips listed above to keep themselves safe whenever they need a ride.