Using Facebook, MySpace and Google to collect on judgments

How about this? The I.R.S. and state tax people are using Facebook and MySpace to collect on back taxes. There are a number of recent articles on the topic, including one from the Wall Street Journal entitled Is “Friending” in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First.  (For more articles, just search Google for: IRS Facebook.)

The Journal article writes about how Minnesota authorities collected “several thousand dollars” by using one evader’s MySpace announcement and how the IRS got $2,000 taxes after the debtor announced he was going to be a deejay at a forthcoming party.

In addition to using Facebook and MySpace, tax people also use Google. ”One agent collected $30,000 of unpaid tax from a resident after a Google search found him listed as a high-ranking local marketing rep for a national firm. If a Google online search isn’t productive, agents use the social sites or chat rooms in a last-chance hunt for their quarries.”

One note, however, about a difference between using Facebook and MySpace. The Journal notes:

“There are limits to what state agents can do on the Web. In Nebraska, agents are only allowed to use information that is publicly available online. So, MySpace — owned by News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal — tends to work best because its users often post more public information than do those of sites like Facebook, [a Nebraska agent] said. The default settings for adults on MySpace create a public profile, while the default settings on Facebook create a profile only viewable by an approved list of friends.”

There are more examples, but you get the idea, and, by now, you’ve probably realized that you could do this for your clients.

P.S. I just come across a very detailed article on ”How to Subpoena MySpace and Facebook Information.” It has lots of information. (I found the article  — including some 50 other article titles – in a weekly posting from Technolawyer. It’s a free service and also has lots of valuable information for attorneys.) Continue reading

A creative way to use Google street views: Using it to find a cheaper hotel room

The ABA Techshow was recently held at the Chicago Hilton located at 720 South Michigan Avenue. Even though the ABA got a discount on the normal room rate, it still cost attendees $199 per night.

While I was at the conference, I started speaking with someone who was attending who could not have afforded that rate. He told me how he found a hotel that was much cheaper and that was only a block away. How did he do it?

Here’s how: He went on Google’s street views and just “walked” from the Hilton to the next block on Michigan where he “saw” another hotel, the Blackstone, which was at 636 South Michigan. He called the hotel, and, in addition to being close, it was cheaper than the Hilton.

But, you might ask, how did he know that it was a hotel and what its name was? Simple. He could see a sign “from the street” showing that it was the Blackstone Hotel.

More sites for finding info on jurors, lawyers, and others

I wrote earlier about using pipl and other sites for finding information about potential jurors and others — including discovering what federal and state political contributions they had made and which parties or candidates received their contributions. 

While I was at the latest American Bar Association Techshow, Jim Calloway told about a site that was new to me. It’s 123People.com.  It’s a good source of information, and, if you search your own name, you might find yourself mentioned in cases or in articles that you had forgotten about.

Jim always has interesting information on his site, Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.

And, if you’re trying to find someone — or how old someone is – or their phone number – or perhaps even their prior addresses — try Zabasearch. It has an incredible amount of information — and it’s also free.

How to find information about potential jurors and others — including info about their political contributions

Do you want to find information about potential jurors and others? Here’s where at no cost you can search multiple sites with one search: Kim Komando (that’s really her name — her site is Komando.com) has listed sites in which you can search social networking sites simultaneously. The sites include PiplWink, PeekYou  and Cvgadget.

How to search the “Deep Web” with “pipl

She wrote this about pipl  in her article Find personal information in the deep Web :

[Google and Yahoo] can help you find information on specific people. But search engines don’t index some of the juiciest information. For that you need to go a little deeper.

pipl only searches by first and last name, city, state and country. But it searches the deep Web. These are the pages search engines often overlook.

It will search through public records, online store profiles, member directories, publications, etc. It will return the best results from multiple categories.

I tried all four sites and pipl seemed best to me. It even included the amounts and recipients of federal political contributions that some of the people I searched had given. Fascinating information if you’re trying to get info on a juror or anyone else.

Two of her other articles, Tools for finding long lost friends and Employers can find personal information online, give further details on cybersleuthing.

How to find both federal and state political contributions

You can also go to OpenSecrets.org, a site that collects lots of data on political contributions for federal offices, including the names of donors and the recipients and dates of the donations. (If you search OpenSecrets, make sure you put the potential donor’s last name first, followed by a comma and then the donor’s first name.)

For information about contributions to state candidates, you can go to the Institute on Money in State Politics, whose url is appropiately named  www.followthemoney.org.

 4/22/09 For a later post regarding more sites for finding info on jurors, lawyers, and others, click here.

Do you want to watch surgery being performed? You can now see different types of procedures such as cervical and thoracic disc operations and prostate procedures

I just learned of OR-live, a site that shows tapes of surgeons performing surgery and includes running commentary from physicians.

You can browse the site’s archives by its 17 separate specialities, such as, for instance, cardiovascular/cardiothoracic, gastroenterology, neurological/neurosurgical, obgyn, and orthopaedics. You can also browse the archives by the name of the institution where the surgery was performed and by the date it was performed.

The neurological/neurosurgical archive listing includes, for example, links to a herniated disc repair using a microdiscectomy technique, an anterior approach cervical discectomy with fusion, and a mini-open antero-lumbar interbody fusion.

Procedures in the archives for the urology specialty include a hernia repair and a radical prostatectomy by robotic surgery to remove a cancerous prostate.

You may also hear comments from the surgeons and from other physicians before, during and after the procedures. In addition, you may also hear questions from other physicians while the surgery is proceeding.

As an example of what you can find, if you go to the page for a webcast of the cervical discectomy, you will see that the procedure was performed in 2004 and that you can view the entire webcast, or, if you prefer, just preview the webcast or just see and hear the doctor comments. If you choose the entire procedure, the webcast lasts two hours and six minutes and includes both video and related slides in side by side windows.

LINKS:

ORlive: http://www.or-live.com/

Archives by category: http://www.or-live.com/archives.cfm

Cervical discectomy: http://www.or-live.com/aurora/1150/

Neurological/neurosurgical archives: http://www.or-live.com/archives.cfm?browseby=specialty&id=10

Urology archives: http://www.or-live.com/archives.cfm?browseby=specialty&id=3

Hospitals can reduce if not eliminate medical malpractice and patient deaths and complications – - Some are already doing it

I have reported in a number of postings that the way to reduce the number of medical malpractice suits is to reduce the amount of medical malpractice. Here, for instance, are a couple of my postings:

“Here’s one out-of-the-box way to reduce medical malpractice suits: Reduce the medical malpractice — A new study reports that an average of 195,000 people have died annually due to errors in hospitals”
http://www.outoftheboxlawyering.com/archives/000053.html“90,000 patients a year die from hospital-acquired infections – - How to reduce the number of medical malpractice cases by reducing the medical malpractice”
http://www.outoftheboxlawyering.com/archives/000072.html

 

Well, hospitals are beginning to reduce if not eliminate some hospital-acquired injuries and infections.

The Washington Post, in an article entitled “Hospitals Cutting Patient Complications,” reports that “about 80 hospitals in Michigan and New Jersey have virtually eliminated ventilator-associated pneumonia and blood infections from neck and groin catheters.” (Registration required.)

The article continues that some New Jersey hospitals have reduced their ventilator-pneumonia cases and catheter-related infections by a third by following steps such as weaning patients off ventilators more quickly and using a stronger skin disinfectant when inserting a catheter.

Similarly, “[i]n Michigan last year, 77 hospitals cut the number of catheter-related blood infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia cases so much that hospital officials believe they prevented 73 deaths from pneumonia and four from blood infections.”

The article also refers to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which has a “100,000 Lives Campaign.” That campaign is to save 100,00 lives each year by focusing on six problem areas, including medication errors. As IHI further describes its goal:

IHI and other organizations that share our mission are convinced that a remarkably few proven interventions, implemented on a wide enough scale, can avoid 100,000 deaths over the next 18 months, and every year thereafter.

 

Click here for IHI’s Frequently Asked Questions

A postscript:

After I drafted this posting, it was disheartening to read an op-ed piece in The New York Times with the sub-headline “Bad hygiene is killing patients.”

The piece was by a Betsy McCaughey, a former New York lieutenant governor and the founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. In it, she details how poor hygiene is causing “[i]nfections that have been nearly eradicated in some other countries [to be] raging through hospitals in the United States.” She notes that the problem is magnified because many of the infections are immune to being cured by common antibiotics.

Her solutions include enforcement of better hand washing techniques and the use of disposable gowns and aprons. She adds that when the veterans hospital in Pittsburgh used better procedures, it reduced by 85 percent staph bacteria that was resistant to methicillin, and the University of Virginia Medical Center eradicated the problem.

Partial links:

Source from The New York Times, June 5, 2005, p. A23. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/opinion/06mccaughey.html

Institute for Healthcare Improvement: http://www.ihi.org

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.ihi.org/IHI/Programs/Campaign/Campaign.htm?TabId=6

Institute for Healthcare Improvement goal of saving 100,000 lives annually: http://www.ihi.org/IHI/Programs/Campaign/Campaign.htm?TabId=1

Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/03/AR2005060300235.html

Here’s an instantaneous way for lawyers (and others) to find someone’s age – - and it’s free. You can also immediately find their telephone number and address

Zabasearch is a new people-finding and age-finding search engine. You can enter someone’s name – - and their state if you know it – - and you will probably (I surmise by my tests) get the year and maybe the month of their birth. You can probably also get both their current and some former addresses and telephone numbers.

I recently discovered Zabasearch in a posting in Genie Tybursky’s Virtual Chase TVC Alert email newsletter (highly, highly recommended). (“The Virtual Chase informs about Web sites and research strategies for finding the law.”) You can find her site at http://www.virtualchase.com and even sign up in her site for her free new issues.

Genie has additional details about Zabasearch in her article entitled “Scary People Search Engine.” She writes:

“[Zabasearch] goes beyond the typical free people search engine, which provides the names, addresses and telephone numbers of those with public telephone listings. It also reveals private phone numbers and birth dates (mostly the year or month and year).”

 

She cites to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle which gives even more details. The title of the Chronicle article tells a lot: “It’s impressive, scary to see what a Zaba search can do.”

Snopes.com (a site about urban legends) has comments on the results of paying the optional $20 for Zabasearch’s “background check.”

Links:

San Francisco Chronicle article: http://tinyurl.com/bazg9

Snopes.com article: http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/zabasearch.asp

Virtual Chase article: http://www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/apr05/15apr05.html
Virtual Chase sign-up: http://www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/index.html

Zabasearch: http://www.zabasearch.com