Online Identity Theft

Protect Yourself against Online Identity Theft

An emerging area of risk in Ireland of which we all need to be aware is Online Identity Theft.

Identity theft is increasingly a problem where transfers of funds between bank accounts is concerned. For Donal T. Ryan Solicitors LLP, we are particularly concerned that our clients should not fall foul of these cyber criminals when they are transferring funds to us.

If you are transferring money electronically to us, you must first verbally verify the bank account details with the solicitor you are dealing with.

One example of scammers taking advantage of solicitors’ clients is where they hack the solicitors’ firm’s e-mail account to find people who owe them money. The scammers then send “chaser” e-mails to these people, pretending to be from the solicitors’ firm, and supplying the bank details – which are in fact the scammers’ own bank details. If the solicitors’ firm’s e-mail signature includes a warning not to transfer funds without confirming bank details verbally by phone, as we include on all our e-mails, the scammers simply delete this warning. Once the money is transferred to their account, the scammers then empty the account. Even worse, because the bank was given instructions to transfer the money by the account holder, the bank is not obliged to get it back.

Prevention is better than cure, so Irish individuals and businesses need to take steps to make sure that neither they nor their customers become the scammers’ next victims. Businesses can take measures to prevent their e-mails from being hacked, from two-factor authentication to data loss prevention, and security awareness training. This use of technology must be supported by well implemented policies and procedures, such as a Password Management Policy and Acceptable Use policies.

On an individual level, in order to protect yourself never use bank details contained in an e-mail without checking them verbally with the solicitor or other person you are transferring funds to. Always ring the person you are dealing with to double check bank details.

Consumer Contracts Bill

Consumer Contracts Bill

This issue of insurance reform is a current topic of discussion. This Consumer Contracts Bill is currently making it ways through the Houses of the Oireachtas. It was hoped to that it would become law in 2020, however the talk of a general election might delay its finalisation.

The law aims to make it more difficult for Insurance Companies to refuse to pay a valid claim. The insurers will also have to notify the insured when they plan to settle a claim. Being kept in the dark has been a source of complaints for insured person.

Another change will be that the onus will be on insurers to ask the relevant questions when a consumer or small firm is taking out a policy. This is a reversal of the current situation where the policy holder is expected to anticipate what has to be disclosed.

Our view here in Donal T. Ryan Solicitors LLP is that anything that places a bigger obligation on insurers can only be a good thing.

If you have any queries on the enclosed, or a query on insurance do not hesitate to contact Donal Ryan or Lorcan Dunphy in our Cashel office at 062 61288

Black Friday

Black Friday – Avoid the pitfalls!

Black Friday has become the busiest on-line shopping period of the year in recent times. People are eager to get the best deals and they have waited all year to buy a new TV, tablet or hi-tech equipment. However, you have to be careful not to get carried away by the hype and make sure you shop smart on-line.

Do Your Research

Check in advance the actual price of items that you want to buy on Black Friday. You could end up overpaying if you are taken in by mediocre prices masquerading as 50% reductions. Confirm in advance the actual average market price of an item so that you know whether or not a bargain is too good to be true.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

This may sound simple, but it is often to practise when you are being bombarded by special offers, limited availability and “one day only” prices. Retailers are doing their best to entice you to buy as much as possible and it’s easy to impulse buy in the heat of the moment. You need to set a budget in advance and be disciplined on the day. Often shopping on-line doesn’t feel like you are spending “real money” but when your credit card bill arrives at the end of the month, you will be much happier if you have shopped within your means.

Reviews

We have entered a new era of marketing which has seen the rise of the online influencer. You have to remember that social media influencers are often given payments, discounts or free products in return for a positive review. Some on-line retailers have even confessed to posting fake reviews to gather trust from people. It is a good idea to read reviews on multiple platforms and maintain a healthy scepticism in the face of overly enthusiastic 5 star reviews from social media personalities.

On-Line Security

When shopping on-line you are going to be sharing crucial personal information including credit card details with the retailers. Therefore you have to ensure that your information will be shared securely. Make sure that the site has a “https” certificate as it means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Also consider using a Paypal or Revolut account. These type of services may be used to pay or send money on-line without sharing your financial information directly with the retailer and often include additional purchase protection in the event of a problem with the purchase.

Hidden Charges

Finally, you need to account for all costs when shopping on-line during the Black Friday madness. There are often additional fees like shipping costs that may not be apparent until the check-out process. For bigger electrical items such as televisions, these can be significant and you need to decide if the item is still good value once you have factored in all of the costs.

Cooling-Off Period

Change your mind about a purchase? No problem. When you buy on-line from businesses based in the E.U. you are given a cooling-off period of 14 days. This means you have the right to cancel an order for any reason within this period. You must return the item within 14 days from the day you cancelled and you may have to pay for the cost of returning it. However, if the item is faulty you do not have to pay for the cost of returning it. You should receive a refund within 14 days of cancellation or return of the item. The Cooling-off period could particularly useful when Black Friday fever turns to Black Friday regret in the aftermath of a serious spending spree!

Buy Local

Shopping on-line can be fun but don’t forget to shop local and support local businesses. Your custom can make all the difference locally to retailers in a highly competitive market.

Remember if you don’t shop in your local town, you will not have a local town to shop in.

Clancy's Law - Learner Driver Driving Unaccompanied

Clancy’s Law – Owner’s responsibility if a Learner driver driving unaccompanied

Under the new Road Traffic Act, if you have a son or daughter that is a learner driver YOU , the owner, will now be committing an offence if you allow them to drive without being accompanied by fully qualified driver.

However as the owner of the vehicle you will have a good defence to the charge to show that the vehicle was being used without your consent and either that you had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent its being used or that it was being used by the driver acting against your orders.

The fine imposed cannot exceeding €2000 or 6 month imprisonment or both such a fine and imprisonment.

12 Tips for Christmas

12 Tips for Christmas

More Christmas trees

Follow our 12 tips for Christmas and worry not!

  1. Misguided by Mistletoe at the Staff Party – Your staff policies on bullying and harassment and discrimination still apply at the office party. Just make sure everyone knows this and knows what they are. if you are attending your office party Looking forward to the office Christmas party? It’s often great fun and an end-of-year morale boost for staff… just be careful not to make any false promises while in the festive spirit.
  2. Finance – Be careful not to overspend – Set a budget for the festive season and stick to it
  3. Vouchers as Presents –  Before you buy, check the expiry date!
  4. Online shopping is one way of avoiding the queues come the January sales – but make sure you are do so safely. Check for the padlock sign on the payment page and monitor your credit card or paypal account regularly. – Safest way to shop – is to shop local!
  5. Taking a break over Christmas ? Make your home look occupied, leave a light on and get a trusted neighbour to check on your property, don’t leave any presents visible from the windows – Finally take precautions to make sure the pipes don’t burst!
  6. Check your house insurance– if you have got expensive Christmas presents you may need to up the insurance to cover them!
  7. Family law – If you are involved in a family law dispute, if possible, put aside your own differences and try to put the children first during the festive season.  Let the children enjoy their Christmas, without tension and acrimony between their parents. Don’t forget family law proceedings are private – you cannot post or tweet about them
  8. Social Media – Employers should ensure that employees should not place material on social media sites which would adversely affect the reputation of the employer and that such conduct may result in the employee being disciplined in accordance with the employer’s disciplinary policy.
  9. Safety First – Christmas lights spread festive cheer but don’t forget to turn them off before you go to bed… the bright lights might keep your neighbours awake…or set your house on fire!
  10. Return that Gift – Check as shops’ return policy before you buy and ask for a gift receipt. There is no obligation for shops to offer an exchange or refund for unwanted Christmas gifts but many still do as a gesture of goodwill – otherwise it could be regifted!
  11. Don’t ever drink & Drive – If you’re drinking, leave the car at home and make sure you don’t drive the following morning – You could still be over the limit!
  12. Eat, drink and stay merry this Christmas – but do it all in moderation.

 

Online Shopping

On-Line Shopping – Beware!

The way we shop has changed. Online shopping means everyone now has access to the global market and consumer choice has never been better! However, I have been thinking about the risks facing online shoppers, particularly with Black Friday and Christmas around the corner.  The following are some of the dangers we have to be aware of when shopping on-line: Read more