Do You Know If Your Money Is Real?

Do You Know If Your Money Is Real?

Money is a pretty big part of everyone’s lives. Most people spend their weekdays working hard to earn just enough money to make it through another week. Meanwhile, a very small group of people out there tries to cheat the system and print their own money. This is called counterfeiting and even though the bills may look the same to government printed bills, they counterfeit ones have no monetary value. If a person wants to avoid getting stuck with a counterfeit bill, then they need to know how to check its authenticity.

There are several security measures in place to help people identify real bills from counterfeit ones.


COLOR SHIFTING INK: On all bills divisible by 5, the bottom right number should be printing in color shifting ink. This means that when viewed from an angle, the number should appear in one color, and if you change angles, the color of the number should change.

FINE/SMALL PRINT: Real bills have a lot of small, fine prints on them that is hard for counterfeiters to reproduce. If a bill has small texts, it should be printed clearly. If the text is fuzzy, then the bill is most likely fake.

RAISED PRINTING: One of the easier features to detect is the raised printing. The shirts on all of the people on the bills feature raised printing. If you run your finger nail over it, you should be able to feel the bumps of the “threads” of the shirt.

RED & BLUE THREADS: Despite being called paper money, bills are actually made out of fabric. Despite their initial appearance, they are not solid green. There are thin red and blue threads woven through the bill. Counterfeiters try to reproduce this by simply printing the lines, so if the lines look like they were just printed on, not woven in, then the bill is a probably a fake.

SECURITY THREAD: Every bill has a security thread in it that can be seen when held up to a light. The location of the strip varies depending on the amount of the bill. When held up to a black light, the strip will glow a certain color depending on the amount of the bill:

  • $5 glows blue
  • $10 glows orange
  • $20 glows green
  • $50 glows yellow
  • $100 glows pink

WATERMARK: Lastly, there is a watermark that can be seen when the bill is held up to a light. The watermark should be on the right side and is the replica of the face on the bill. If the watermark is visible without the bill being held to a light, then it is likely a counterfeit.


Counterfeiters can reproduce some of these security features, but it is very rare for them to be able to reproduce all of them. By knowing all of these different ways to check for fake money, a person is far less likely to get scammed out of their hard earned cash.

 

California’s Archaic Vagrancy Laws

California’s Archaic Vagrancy Laws

The most famous Vagrancy Laws ever created are commonly referred to as the Anti-Okie laws. These particular laws were created in an effort to prevent people who weren’t white, fairly well off, and in good physical condition from entering the state. It wasn’t until 1941 that the U.S. Supreme Court got involved and declared that the Anti-Okie laws were unconstitutional.

Today many believe that because of that ruling, vagrancy laws no longer exist, but that isn’t the case. Different versions of the laws are still in effect today, the biggest difference is that now they are geared towards California’s homeless population, and in California, those laws impact a massive portion of the state’s population.

It is estimated that approximately 22% of the total homeless population in the United States currently resides in California.

The UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic conducted a study that revealed that since in the past 30+ years, different cites throughout California have created brand new laws that are designed to make life difficult for that city’s homeless population. There are currently hundreds of different vagrancy laws in the state, and each one is designed to make life very unpleasant for the local homeless. Lawmakers hope that the laws will encourage the homeless to pack up their bags and move to a different city.

According to the UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic study that each city in California currently has approximately 9 different laws on the books that target that city’s homeless population. It’s worth noting that in most cases, the laws doesn’t say anything about homeless people breaking a traditional law (such as robbery, vandalism, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, etc.), but simply dealing with the fact that these people doesn’t have a home and is living on the street. If the police choose to enforce any of these laws, these homeless individuals will be arrested, formally charged with a crime, be asked to pay a fee that they can’t afford while gaining a criminal record that impacts their future ability to find housing and even get a job.

And the laws aren’t just for show.

Data indicates that from 2000 through 2012 the number of arrests for vagrancy increased to a staggering 77%.

Police records prove that in 2013, throughout the state of California, more than 7,000 arrests were connected to vagrancy. The same data does show that the number of arrests for disorderly conduct and public intoxication did increase, but it’s unclear if there is actually a connection to the stricter vagrancy laws, or if the police were simply picking up members of the homeless community and charging them with things like disorderly conduct in an attempt to get them off the street.

Many believe that creating tougher vagrancy laws and arresting people simply because they don’t have a home is every bit as archaic as the defunct Anti-Okie laws. They believe that instead of throwing the homeless into jail cells, the courts should explore ways to help these homeless individuals find better housing options.

 

Life After Jail

Life After Jail

After months and months of patiently waiting, the day has finally come – your loved one is coming home! It’s been a long time in the making and you and your family couldn’t be more excited to see their face, give them a big hug, and for their life to finally return to normal. Well, we hope that seeing their face and giving them a big hug will hold you over for some time because “getting back to normal” is going to take some time.

The harsh reality of a loved one obtaining their freedom is that life isn’t going to return to normal as soon as they return home. They will go through several different emotional stages such as culture shock and depression, as well as adjusting to the stigma that is associated with having a criminal record. As a family member, we want you to be prepared for things they will face as they adjust to everyday life.

Culture Shock

As you can imagine, the world continues to evolve while your loved one is in jail. This includes all aspects of life such as technology, politics, and entertainment. Once they are released, they will need to learn new technology – things like the latest smartphone, social media, or navigating websites. As your loved one navigates the new technological, political, or entertainment industry landscape, it is important that you remain patient and answer any questions they may have.

Depression

After one is released from jail, depression is common. As liberating as it may be, it will be tough on your loved one to readjust to daily life outside of strict schedules and constant supervised routine. Furthermore, they will begin facing the stigmas and the harsh reality of trying to obtain employment with a criminal record. Your loved one may feel lost as they try to find a new purpose and value in society. It is important that you help guide them, listen to their frustrations, and remain positive.

Anger Management

One way to show authority in jail is to show aggression toward other. It is important to remind your loved ones that this kind of behavior is not acceptable outside of jail. As someone who cares about them, it’s important that you help them find other means of expressing their frustrations and controlling their anger.

Fight Addiction

If your loved one had an addiction prior to going to jail, or developed one while in jail, it may have impacted their personality. It is important to show support for them and offer outside resources such as a therapist, social worker, or a doctor to help them combat their addiction and stay clean.

We know you are excited to see a loved one obtain their freedom. However, we also know that as exciting as it may be to be released from jail, you and your loved ones will face difficulties as they resume their life as a free person. It’s important to remind them of your support and be a constant source of positive influence as they adjust to life outside of jail.

 

How Should Firearms Be Stored?

How Should Firearms Be Stored?

Gun safety should be on the mind of every gun owner out there. Everyone who owns or even handles a gun should know how to use it safely. One of the important parts of owning a gun is how to store the item safely. No one wants a child to find the gun and cause harm to himself or someone else. That is why storage is so important.

Here in the state of California, gun owners are required by law to properly store their firearms.

Failure to do so can result in criminal charges, and that’s the best case scenario. The improper storage of a firearm can result in someone finding the gun, and hurting someone with it. If this happened, the owner of the gun would be held responsible.

The first part of storing a firearm properly revolves around unloading the gun before storing it. Guns should not be stored with ammunition in them. In fact, the gun and ammunition should be stored in two separate locations.

Next, the gun should be stored with some sort of safety device activated. This can be as simple as turning on the safety of the firearm. This will usually prevent the trigger from being able to be pulled. This decreases the chances of anyone accidentally setting of the firearm.

Lastly, the firearm and ammunition should both be stored in separate locked containers. This prevents anyone from accessing the weapon without the owner’s consent.

By doing all of this, a California gun owner ensures that his or her firearm is safely tucked away from prying hands. No child will be able to accidentally find the firearm and set it off by mistake. Following these guidelines, a gun owner takes the proper legal precautions of storing their firearm safely.

 

The Ins & Outs Of Insurance Fraud In California

The Ins & Outs Of Insurance Fraud In California

Fraud is the word used when a person says something they know to be untrue for the specific reason of obtaining some sort of benefit. One of the most common form of fraud in California is insurance fraud.

There are Multiple Types of Insurance Fraud

The State of California has authorized prosecutors to handle cases of insurance fraud that fall under the provisions laid out in Chapter 12 of the California Insurance Code. The code is commonly called the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. When insurance fraud is suspected, the Fraud Division mounts an extensive investigation that explores whether the fraud actually occurred and if the accused is in violation of California’s Penal and Insurance Codes. If the accused is found guilty, they’ll have a felony record.

Most of the cases handled by Fraud Divisions in California involve:

  • Auto insurance fraud
  • Health insurance fraud
  • Personal injury/worker’s compensation insurance fraud
  • Residential or Commercial property insurance fraud

What California Considers Insurance Fraud

Unlike some laws which are vague, when writing the laws involving insurance fraud, California lawmakers clearly outlined what they felt was insurance fraud. According to state laws, you can be found guilty of insurance fraud if you:

  • Knowingly took the steps needed to commit insurance fraud, such as hiding a vehicle and then telling the insurance company it was stolen.
  • You went through with the fraudulent act and filed the insurance claim.
  • If the Fraud Division can prove that both the act and intent to commit insurance fraud went together.

It’s important to note that you can be found guilty of felony insurance fraud even if you never receive any money from the act.

California’s insurance fraud laws are written in such a way that the only thing that has to be proven is act and intent.

Who Can Accuse You Of Insurance Fraud

In most states, the insurance company is the one who has to alert the authorities to an act of insurance fraud, but California is unique. When you read through the Insurance Frauds Prevention Act, you’ll see language that allows a person who isn’t connected to the insurance company to file a lawsuit against someone who they believe to be guilty of insurance fraud. The interesting thing about the law is that it enables the private citizen, AKA the whistleblower, be “rewarded” 30-50% of the settlement or trial award once the insurance fraud case reaches its conclusion.

Penalties Of Being Convicted Of Insurance Fraud In California

The most devastating aspect of being found guilty of insurance fraud is that you’ll have a felony record. In addition to that the judge can order you to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to $10,000 for each violation as well as paying up to three times the amount you collected in fraudulent insurance claims.

 

Is It Time for Last Call?

Is It Time for Last Call?

California lawmakers have recently passed a bill that if signed by Governor Jerry Brown, would allow certain cities to extend how late alcohol could be served. The bill in question is Senate Bill (SB) 905. The bill was passed at the end of August 2018, and now awaits either the Governor’s veto or signature.

The new law proposed by SB 905 would allow cities to decide when bars and other alcohol serving establishments should stop serving alcohol. Currently, bars and restaurants in California are required to have their last call at 2AM. Under this new law, 9 cities would be able to extend their last call for a few more hours starting in 2021.

The 9 cities included in this bill are:

  • Cathedral City
  • Coachella
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Palm Springs
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • West Hollywood

The idea behind doing this is to allow these cities, and California as a whole, to compete with neighboring states, such as Nevada, that allow drinking into the early morning hours. By extending last call by just a few hours, these cities could end up seeing increased revenue.

However, even with the Governor’s signature, the bill would also need to be approved by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. If that were achieved, the law would go into effect in 2021 and last for 5 years where politicians would then get to decide if they wanted to keep the law or get rid of it.

 

Pirating Movies Is A Serious Offense

Pirating Movies Is A Serious Offense

We’ve all seen the FBI warning in front of movies, warning us not to pirate the film and distribute it illegally. For the most part, people ignore the warning simply because they had no intention of doing that. However, there are some people out there who ignore the warning and do that anyway. They figure they won’t get caught and that even if they do, it won’t be that big of a deal.

For one California man, this turned out to not be the case. A 22 year-old man recently found out just how serious the government takes piracy. Back in 2016, the man posted a pirated copy of the movie Deadpool to his social media account. The movie was then viewed over 6 million times, which quickly earned the attention of local authorities.

The man now faces 6 months in jail, and 1 year of probation for the criminal act. This is a very big deal for something that many people view as a “small” crime. However, especially in this instance, this is not a small crime. Over 6 million people watched the movie illegally online, which amounts to a huge loss in profits for the company that made the movie, in this case, 20th Century Fox.

Despite what one might think, pirating movies is a very big deal. It prevents companies, and the people that work for them, from getting the money they worked hard to earn. Due to this fact, the government does take this crime very seriously, as evident by this latest case.

 

Know Where Your Donations Are Going

Know Where Your Donations Are Going

Every once in a while, we comes across something online that just tugs at our heart strings. Then we find out that we can donate some money to help out. We jump at the chance to help out, but before anyone gets too excited, they should make sure the money is actually going where it should.

Unfortunately, there are many people out there who like to take advantage of kindhearted people. These bad people know that they can manipulate good people into donating by claiming the money will be going to help some cause. Anyone can setup a GoFundMe page and request money from strangers.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides some tips for people who are looking to support different charities or causes safely. One of the signs that a charity is probably a scam, is if the charity does not provide detailed information about what the money is going to be used for, then it is probably a scam. Most legitimate charities know what the money they raise will be used for.

Other signs that a charity may be a scam include:

  • The charity’s name is very similar to another prominent charity.
  • The charity tries to pressure you into making a donation without allowing you to think about whether or not you want to do so.
  • The charity asks for cash, gift cards, or wire transfers.
  • Guarantees that you will win a prize from a sweepstakes if you donate.
  • Offers to send someone to get the money from you.

If you are looking at donating some money to a good cause, be sure to do your research. Lookup the charity that you will be donating to, and try searching to see if there have been any scams or complaints about the charity in question. Doing this can help you make an informed and safe donation to a true charity, and not some scammer.

 

Consequence Of Driving With A Suspended License

Consequence Of Driving With A Suspended License

Having a driver’s license makes life considerably easier and in some parts of California, the ability to drive is a key component of survival since there’s no form of public transportation. However, there are times when the State of California can decide to suspend your license.

How a Driver’s License Becomes Suspended

It’s a easier to have your drivers license suspended than you might think. Things that can result in to the state revoking your driving privileges include:

  • Unpaid tickets.
  • Driving while under the influence.
  • Being declared physically or mentally incapable of driving.
  • Having too many points on your driving record.

California Vehicle Code 14601 VC not only deals with the various reasons why a license can be suspended, but also the consequences connected to continuing to drive despite the fact you’ve lost your license.

What Happens if You Continue to Drive

It’s easy to understand the urge to drive despite the fact that your license is suspended. No one is going to know as long as you don’t get pulled over and driving means you don’t have to walk or beg a friend for a ride.

The thing you have to remember is that if you are caught driving on a suspended license you’ll face severe consequences.

Penalties for Driving Without a License in California

  • First Offense: Imprisonment for between 5 days and 6 months; $300-$1000 fine.
  • Subsequent Offense: Imprisonment for between 10 days and 1 year; $500-$2000 fine.

Vehicle Code 14601 VC states that when you’re caught driving on a suspended license, the local prosecutor will charge you with a misdemeanor, a charge that can be a serious blow, especially if you’re trying to get a job or lease a new apartment.

The exact penalty connected to your decision to drive while your license is suspended depends on a few different variables, including:

  • Why your license was suspended in the first place.
  • How many times you’ve been caught driving on a suspended license.
  • The traffic infraction that led to you being pulled over and the officer discovering the status of your license.

It’s not uncommon for a person who has been caught driving on a suspended license to spend time in the county jail and to also be issued some heavy fines.

In addition to facing legal problems when you’re caught driving on a suspended license, you’ll also have a difficult time registering your vehicle (which increases the odds of you getting pulled over and caught) and insuring your vehicle. The lack of insurance and license means that you’ll be on the wrong side of a lawsuit should you cause an accident.

 

Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

Think Twice Before Making A Prank Call

When you’re the person making prank calls, it is a lot of fun, but you should know that each time you make one of those calls, you’re breaking California’s Penal Code 653m PC. This code also includes prank text messages and emails.

The problem with prank calls is that while you’re having a great time, the person on the other end isn’t. Having to deal with threatening and/or annoying calls is very stressful which is why the lawmakers got into the action. Don’t assume that your prank calls will simply get you a slap on the wrist. If the prosecutor decides to pursue the case and a jury finds you guilty, you’ll go through life with a misdemeanor on your record and could spend time in a county jail cell.

What Types of Call Violate Penal Code 653m PC

Most people assume that the only calls that will get them in trouble are ones that openly threaten the person on the other side of the message/call. The truth is that when you read Penal Code 653m PC, you’ll discover that California’s lawmakers consider repetitive and flat out annoying calls to also be in violation of the law.

The good news is that the most prosecutors aren’t looking for teenagers who randomly call people and ask them a joke. In most counties, Penal Code 653m PC is used mainly to prosecute harassing phone calls/messages that are involved with cases that include other issues such as stalking and domestic violence. The calls/messages that get the most attention from the authorities are the ones that are openly threatening and where obscene language is used.

One of the things that has gotten some people in trouble with the law is that they made a prank call but failed to connect with anyone on the other end, only to have the person return the call. If you start using obscene language at this point, the cops could knock on your door.

The Problem with Penal Code 653m PC

While most law officials feel that Penal Code 653m PC is a great idea, there are quite a few problems connected to it, which is bad news for prosecutors but good news for those charged with violating the law. The biggest problem is that the type of obscene language is so bad it violates Penal Code 653m PC. This gives the defense a good argument they can use to get the charges dismissed.

If found guilty, you could be required to pay a $1,000 fine and sentenced to 6 months in county jail.