LegalShield, the world’s leading provider of affordable legal and privacy protection plans, wants consumers to be empowered by their legal rights and protected from potential identity theft scams that can arise during challenging economic times.
“During times of uncertainty it is even more vital to understand your legal rights and how to protect yourself and family members from potential privacy breaches, cybercrimes and scams,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield. “With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, LegalShield and IDShield want to share tips on protecting your identity and private information, along with your legal rights around employment, healthcare and travel. Unfortunately, times like this embolden many businesses and individuals to take advantage of people’s fears. This is a time to pull together to protect and empower consumers.”
Legal assistance in uncertain situations
Coronavirus could potentially impact every family and small business. Therefore, consumers should update their legal documents, specifically their Wills, powers of attorney (including healthcare) and healthcare directives.
Every day, we see more headlines around event cancellations and travel warnings. Consumers who are not compensated fairly should consult with an attorney on issues around travel insurance, cancelled travel accommodations, sporting and social events etc.
Many people have questions about coronavirus’ potential impact on their livelihood. Concerns include the inability to pay bills in the face of lost employment or missed work; PTO or time off to care for children who aren’t in school or other family members in need of care during the crisis; eligibility for short-term disability if someone contracts the illness. Make sure you know your legal rights.
LegalShield attorneys are seeing increased volume in a variety of legal issues including:
- Contractor and Vendor matters that center around disputes over work cleanup, and repair scams.
- Insurance Claim matters such as consumers needing assistance applying for government support and theft losses.
- Identity Theft matters where consumers are fooled by charitable scams, relief fund fraud and stolen personal documents.
- Price Gouging matters in which consumers are being vastly overcharged for everyday items.
Legal assistance for small business owners
Many small businesses are suffering during this crisis, but measures can be taken to reduce negative impact. Here are some tips to take back control:
- Small businesses are often leanly staffed or run by family members. If you don’t have a business continuity plan in place, now is the time to create one.
- Set up a formal work-from-home plan – so you can keep the talent you have currently.
- Understand both local and federal employment laws so both you and your employees are protected.
- Turn to social media to get the word out on your services and products.
- Pay close attention to emails from companies or people you don’t normally work for as cyberattacks run rampant during crises.
Mr. Bell added, “Consumers don’t have to feel alone during this time of crisis. Rather than leaving security or potential legal situations up to chance, consumers should proactively arm themselves with information.”
Protecting Your Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Reports of potential consumer and medical scams abound in these trying times. Here are some quick tips to protect consumers’ wallets as well as their personal information:
- Avoid products that specifically claim to be effective against the coronavirus. There currently aren’t any approved products available to treat or prevent the virus, so allegations to the contrary could be a red flag.
- Take care not to click on links promoting these kinds of unapproved products. It’s possible that thieves may be trying to install malware on your device in order to collect your data and steal your identity.
- Be cautious of unexpected emails claiming to be from health professionals. Do not click on any links. Always go to the alleged organization’s official website if you want more information.
- Donation scams are looking to cash in on your charitable nature. Do your proper research to make an informed decision before picking out a charity. Be cautious of causes that demand you pay only with cash or money order.
- Don’t put your credentials into third-party sites unless you’re 100% sure you’re on the correct site.
Through the LegalShield and IDShield mobile apps (available on iOS and Android) there are several free services and freemiums available to help aid consumers and small businesses, including:
- LegalShield– free legal forms or ask general legal questions.
- IDShield– 30-day free trial is available.
About LegalShield and IDShield
A trailblazer in the democratization of affordable access to legal protection, LegalShield is one of North America’s largest providers of online legal subscription plans covering more than 4.375 million people. Its IDShield identity theft solution for individuals and families has more than one million members. LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000 businesses. In addition, over 40,000 companies offer LegalShield and IDShield plans to their employees as a voluntary benefit. Both legal and identity theft plans start for less than $25 per month.
LegalShield’s legal plans provide access to qualified law firms and their attorneys with an average of 22 years of experience in family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself online services, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50 states and all provinces and territories in Canada that members can access at a fraction of typical law firm hourly rates.
IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services and is the only identity theft protection company armed with a team of Licensed Private Investigators to restore a member’s identity.