Locksmiths: Protect Yourself From Unlicensed Activity

shutterstock_locksmithYou lost your keys and need a locksmith. Finding one is easy nowadays with smartphone technology – just search “locksmith,” call one of the results that pops up, and a locksmith is en route to the rescue. So simple, right? Wrong.

What the search engine doesn’t tell you is that unlicensed locksmith activity is a growing problem in California. The search results could potentially lead you to someone seeking to conduct illegal activity at your expense. What you also might not know is that California has requirements locksmiths must meet in order to legally do business.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) regulates locksmith companies and locksmith employees in California and wants you to be an aware and informed consumer. An informed consumer is one of the best deterrents against illegal locksmith activity.

Here is some handy information to keep in your back pocket when it comes to locksmiths:

  1. By law, a locksmith company must hold a BSIS locksmith license and an employee of a locksmith company must hold a BSIS locksmith employee registration.
  2. Identify a licensed and reputable locksmith before you need one. Individuals who possess a locksmith employee registration, but do not work for a licensed locksmith company are operating illegally.
  3. Check the license online or by calling (800) 952-5210.
  4. Check the business name and license number on the vehicle.
  5. Ask the locksmith to provide proof of his or her BSIS license or registration.
  6. Check the Better Business Bureau’s website for information.
  7. Get an estimate of the charges before you authorize the work.
  8. Always get a receipt for any work completed.
  9. If something doesn’t seem right, do not authorize the work to be started.
  10. Contact BSIS to file a complaint or report unlicensed activity.

Conducting business with unlicensed individuals is risky. Remember to check the license and report unlicensed activity online or by calling (800) 952-5210.

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Grammy Winner Lady Gaga Shows Her Support for ‘Save Our Water’

Even Lady Gaga is getting in on the act—the act to save water, that is. In support of the State’s drought-awareness program Save Our Water, international pop star Lady Gaga recently released a public service announcement (PSA) urging Californians to do their part (see her PSA at www.saveourwater.com).

“We’re thrilled Lady Gaga has joined the effort to Save Our Water,” said Mark Cowin, Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). “Conservation has always been a Californian value, but in this drought regular conservation isn’t enough—we must take extraordinary measures to save water.”

Lady Gaga’s PSA is part of the State’s plan to reach out to Californians with the water conservation message. Another recent effort is the launch of the Don’t Waste Summer campaign, presented by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and DWR, in conjunction with the Save Our Water program. The campaign provides daily tips and news that can help water conservation efforts at home and at work.

Sign up for the e-mails with tips and news at www.saveourwater.com. Examples of daily tips include:

  • Install a pool cover to reduce water evaporation by as much as 90 percent.
  • Use mulch to help moderate temperature: It cools soil in the summer and warms soil in the winter.
  • Water plants and foliage less frequently, but longer and closer to plant roots.
  • Collect water while rinsing fruit and vegetables and use it to water houseplants.

Also, follow the campaign on Twitter and Instagram (#SaveOurWater) and on the Save Our Water’s Facebook page. Through these social media sites, you can watch videos, view photos, and read news and tips on how Californians and State businesses and organizations are conserving water.

Lady Gaga’s got it right—stay informed and save water. Learn more about the Save Our Water program at www.saveourh2o.org and the “Don’t Waste Summer” campaign at www.saveourh2o.org/sowmonth.

Exam Subversion Defendant Pleads Guilty To Two Felonies

Will also pay $400,000 in restitution to the Department of Consumer Affairs

SACRAMENTO – A southern California man accused of subverting state licensing exams has pled guilty to two felony burglary counts and will pay $400,000 in restitution to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Larry Holmes, Jr., and a business associate were arrested in January following an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation. The investigation revealed ACEAPP Training, which was operated by the pair, helped people cheat on numerous state licensing exams.

Exam materials for 12 different state-administered exams were illegally obtained affecting licensing entities including the Structural Pest Control Board, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Industrial Relations, the California Secretary of State and other departments.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Susan Saylor, the Executive Officer of the Structural Pest Control Board, who originally requested the investigation. “Exam subversion is not only illegal, but it can put consumers at risk and will not be tolerated.”

As a result of the guilty plea, Holmes was sentenced to 30 days in county jail, 30 days of Caltrans work projects, placed on three years formal probation and ordered to pay $400,000 to the Department. He has already paid $200,000 and the rest will be paid over two years. A Superior Court Order was also issued against Holmes which suspends his Pest Control Operator’s license pending final resolution of his administrative case.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 

Land Survey Monuments: Preservation of Property Lines

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Photo credit: California Land Surveyors Association

 

Ever notice round, metal discs or nails set into the surface of a sidewalk or street?

Those are land survey monuments that mark major land survey points.

According to the California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA), the markers, or survey monuments, are a means of visualizing the corners of parcels or rights-of-way. The survey monuments indicate property lines among adjoining properties, neighborhoods, subdivisions, roads, highways, cities, counties, states, and even countries. There are a variety of different types of land survey monuments, including a chiseled cross in a sidewalk, a nail and brass tag, iron pipes of any diameter driven into the ground, wood stakes or posts with or without identifying tags, old nails or “X” scribed in concrete, and rebar, with or without identifying caps.

Survey markers protect property owners’ rights since they identify original survey points. But during construction and land development, the survey markers are sometimes inadvertently destroyed.

“The destruction of survey monuments has occurred for quite some time and has increased over the last 10–12 years, initially due to rapidly spreading development across the State and more recently due to the increase of road maintenance activities by public agencies,” said Ric Moore, Executive Officer of the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists.

A professional land surveyor must re-establish the monument, but it’s not always easy to do. And that can mean unanticipated costs, both in terms of money and relationships between property owners.

“When survey monuments are no longer available, the land surveyor is forced to extend the survey a much farther distance from the property, which often can result in an unforeseen increase in costs to the individual property owner,” said Moore. “The land surveyor is not always able to re-create exactly the same location, and that can lead to disputes between property owners over the location of their shared property lines.”

State law recognizes the importance of preserving survey monuments, and requires them to be sufficient in both number and durability so that survey points and lines are precisely known are can be recreated.

“Legislators have long recognized that the location of survey monuments, and thus property boundaries, represents a ‘physical property line infrastructure’ that private property owners and the general public should be able to adequately rely on for their use,” said Moore. “Destroying survey monuments cost private property owners many thousands of unnecessary dollars every year.”

 

 

Pedicures: There’s Infection Risk Afoot

SafeSandalseason2014_twitter_profilePedicures can be a great way to pamper yourself. But they can also lead to serious health problems unless salons follow the sanitation procedures required by law.

Lurking in the depths of a foot spa basin may be bacteria, fungal strains, and other dangerous microorganisms that thrive in warm, moist environments. Any break in the skin – like insect bites, scratches, scabs, razor cuts – are gateways for those for those microorganisms to cause infections. Sometimes serious infections.

That’s why we want you to know what to do before you get a pedicure:

  • Don’t shave or wax your legs 24 hours before a pedicure. If you have broken skin or lesions on your lower legs, don’t get a pedicure until they have healed.
  • Check to see if your salon or cosmetologist has been disciplined for rules violations.
  • Ask how the salon cleans and disinfects its pedicure equipment―the response should match the instructions on the health and safety poster provided by the Board and required by law to be displayed on the premises. You also have the right to see the pedicure cleaning and disinfection log.

Wiping out the tub between clients isn’t enough. For example, in the case of whirlpool foot spas and air-jet basins, special disinfectant must circulate through the equipment for 10 minutes between patrons.

If you want to know more about how salons should be cleaning their pedicure equipment, watch the video below.

 

To learn more about salon safety or to file a complaint, visit the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s website.

Seven Plead Guilty to Forging Transcripts in Order to Become Nurses

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SACRAMENTO – Seven people have pleaded guilty to charges of forgery for using fake transcripts to become licensed as Registered Nurses. All were arrested as a result of a multi-agency probe involving the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr. and Glyn Cordova Villegas of Kern County, James Quijano Leoncio of Orange County, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, German Zagada and Jude Dagza Leoncio of Los Angeles County applied for licenses to practice as Registered Nurses in California using false and forged nursing school transcripts from the Philippines. They now face up to three years in prison.

“Protecting patient safety is the Board’s top priority,” said Louise Bailey, Executive Officer of the Board of Registered Nursing. “A nurse without the proper education could be dangerous to a patient.”

The Division of Investigation worked with HSI, the Internal Revenue Services’ Criminal Investigation Division and the California Board of Registered Nursing to investigate and arrest the seven. An eighth individual Joanne Keeney, the suspected-ringleader, currently resides in the Philippines.  There is a warrant for her arrest.

“We are happy we were able to crack this ring of forgers and keep them from possibly harming patients,” said Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We would not have been able to do that without the cooperation from all of those working on the case at the Division of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.”

“IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI) is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the American public both domestically and internationally,”  said José M. Martínez, Special Agent in Charge, Oakland Field Office.  “These crimes touched the lives of many unsuspecting citizens and the public should know that we will hold accountable those individuals who put personal financial gain through deceit above the safety and well-being of the public that we serve.”

“The diligent efforts by HSI special agents here in the Bay Area and the Philippines were instrumental in exposing this potentially dangerous scheme and eliminating a significant threat to public safety,” said Tatum King, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “Without HSI’s global reach and its partnership with Philippine authorities, it would have been difficult to develop the evidence overseas needed to bring the charges in this case. This investigation illustrates yet again how communities benefit from HSI’s working relationships with local, state and foreign agencies.”

At the request of the Board of Registered Nursing, a Sacramento County Superior Court Judge has ordered Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Jude Dagza Leoncio, and James Quijano Leoncio not to practice as registered nurses.

The Board filed and served accusations against Juan Malaluan Tenorio Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Jude Dagza Leoncio and James Quijano Leoncio on May 16, 2014, and German Zagada on May 22, 2014 seeking revocation of their RN licenses.

All seven people are expected to be sentenced June 27, 2014.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers who wish to file a complaint against an auto repair facility can contact the Department of Consumer at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

The Board of Registered Nursing regulates the practice of registered nursing and certified advanced practice nurses in order to protect the public. The Board exists to protect the health and safety of consumers and promote quality registered nursing care in California. 

Cemetery and Funeral Bureau Revokes Licenses For Beloved Care Funeral Service

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SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau has revoked the licenses associated with the Beloved Care Funeral Service in Bakersfield.

An investigation into Beloved Care and its owner James Otis Gamble, Jr., uncovered fraud, misrepresentation and unprofessional conduct. As a result, the funeral establishment license, funeral director license and embalmer license were revoked effective today. Consumers should be aware neither the funeral home nor Mr. Gamble may operate legally in California.

Consumers who have questions or concerns about Beloved Care Funeral Service should contact the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau at (800) 952-5210.

Consumers should always verify the license of a funeral establishment before doing business with it. To verify a license or to file a complaint, visit www.cfb.ca.gov or call us toll free at (800) 952-5210.

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The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau advocates consumer protection and licensee compliance through proactive education and enforcement of laws and regulations of the death care industry.