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Preventing Identity Theft – Passphrases vs. Passwords

Written by Bill Pfund, Esq. Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft according to a 2018 survey by The Harris Poll. That same survey indicates nearly 15 million American consumers experienced identity theft in 2017. So, yes, the crime of identity theft is relatively common. And it’s probably safe to assume it won’t be dropping anytime soon. The reason? Data breaches. While there are many stories of identity theft in the news, what we tend to hear more about are data breaches—in which a company or other organization’s customer’s records, which may include full names, Social Security numbers, and other personal information, are accessed fraudulently. In 2017, there was a record high of 1,579 data breaches, exposing more than 178 million records. The big one—involving Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies—received a lot of attention. Not only was the number of potential victims quite large at 147.9 million, the kind of information exposed was significant. It included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. What are the most common types of identity theft? According to the Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that maintains a sort of warehouse for identity theft complaints, the crime falls into six major categories: Employment- or tax-related fraud (34%) What it is: A criminal uses someone else’s Social Security number and other personal information to gain employment or to file an income tax return. Credit card fraud (33%) What it is: The thief uses someone else’s credit card or credit card number to make fraudulent purchases. Phone or utilities fraud (13%)...
Brian Cafritz Named Virginia Super Lawyer

Brian Cafritz Named Virginia Super Lawyer

Brian Cafritz has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Brian has received the honor every year since 2016. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...
Jessica Relyea Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Jessica Relyea Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Jessica Relyea has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...
Danny Royce Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Danny Royce Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Danny Royce has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...
Chris Bergin Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars

Chris Bergin Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars

Chris Bergin has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...
Randy Lenhart Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Randy Lenhart Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Randy Lenhart has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. This is Randy’s first appearance on the list. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...
Andrew Willis Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Andrew Willis Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star

Andrew Willis has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Andrew has been honored as a Rising Star each year since 2017. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...

Preventing Cybercrime

Written by Bill Pfund, Esq. HOW TO RESPOND TO COMPUTER POP-UPS. In addition to being annoying, computer pop-ups or notifications are often the first step a cyber-criminal uses to victimize unsuspecting users. Be cautious of any notification or pop-up messages. Examples include emails that say you have to download something in order to see a greeting card or a message that says your computer is infected. Don’t click on anything in these pop-ups, including the “x” inside the pop-up itself. Your best response to remove the pop-up safely is to hold down three keys “CTL+ALT+DEL” to exit a pop-up safely on a Windows computer. Use “CMD+ Option+Escape” on a Mac. Then run your antivirus software to see if there is any malware on your computer that caused the pop-up. HOW TO RESPOND TO FAKE EMAIL MESSAGES Be careful where you click. Don’t click on links or attachments in e-mails from an unknown sender, a suspicious sender or emails that don’t make sense. Remember that a friend’s email account can become compromised and that attackers can “spoof” someone’s email address to appear to be from anyone they choose. Remember-don’t react emotionally to an email. Pause and think before clicking. Hackers count on this emotional response to overcome logic and force us into making bad cyber-decisions. RANSOMWARE Ransomware is a form of malware that restricts access to data by encrypting files or locking computer screens. The criminal behind the ransomware infection then attempts to extort money from the victim by asking for a “ransom”, usually in the form of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or in the form of the gift cards from...
Rachel Riordan Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star 5 Years Consequtively

Rachel Riordan Named Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star 5 Years Consequtively

Rachel Riordan has been selected to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Rachel has been honored every year since 2015. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit...

What is a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange?

Historically, insurance exchanges were formed by individuals or corporations engaged in a similar line of business who together undertook to indemnify one another from certain kinds of risks by a mutual exchange of insurance contracts. Often times insurance exchanges were started to avoid questionable risk pools. Today, policyholders in a reciprocal insurance exchange—often known as “subscribers”—act through a common attorney-in-fact and are simultaneously both insurers and insureds. This method of providing insurance is different from mutual insurance companies because insurance exchanges do not have a corporate existence; instead, they are simply an unincorporated association of individuals who swap potential liabilities between themselves.