How DoorDash took the lead in food delivery

Good morning. Tony Xu of DoorDash stopped by Fortune’s new offices yesterday for a fascinating conversation about how his company has propelled …

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Scammers Make Home-Hunting Hazardous for Bay Area Renters

(Be especially skeptical if they will only accept payment via Bitcoin, cash, or another unconventional method. Paper checks and credit or debit cards …

Housing scams are a huge and expensive problem in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We’ve heard the stories firsthand. Our NBC Bay Area Responds database of consumer complaints includes dozens of California families who told us they were ripped off while looking for a place to live.

The FBI 2019 Internet Crime Report, released today, includes more than 11,000 complaints about real estate and rental scams reported nationwide. That averages out to about 30 people losing money every day, throughout the year.

Unfortunately, the crooks often pull off the scam from overseas, so there’s little we can do to help after the fact. That’s why we want to help you protect yourself — and prevent this from happening.

Here’s how it typically works: a prospective renter responds to an online advertisement for an apartment, condo, or house available for rent — often at a temptingly low rate. They contact the supposed owner or landlord, who asks them to wire thousands of dollars for a deposit and first month’s rent. When they arrive at the given address to move in, they learn that the home is already occupied or not for rent — and the phony landlord has vanished with their money.

Protect Yourself — And Your Money

Many victims who took the bad guys’ bait say they dealt with the would-be landlords online, and only online. That’s a red flag. Insist that you meet the landlord or property owner in person and at the property you’re interested in. (Be especially skeptical if they will only accept payment via Bitcoin, cash, or another unconventional method. Paper checks and credit or debit cards create a paper trail you can use to protect yourself.)

Meeting face-to-face is not enough, though. You’ve got to make sure that person is who they say they are — and can actually offer you the home.

That means researching them, and the property. Ask the neighbors about the property owner. Make some calls to verify who owns the place. Check the county assessor’s property record. Compare the names. Get proof!

If that’s too involved, or too much of a risk, there are two options that involve a professional.

First, you could ask a real estate attorney to help with your lease. As part of their services, you could ask them to do a background check.

Here’s a strategy that could be free: up-front, warn your would-be landlord that you’re going to get a lawyer involved. You might learn right away if the landlord is legit.

Here’s another option: perhaps enlist a real estate agent to help you go house-hunting. Yes, your rent might be higher, and you may have to pay a finder’s fee, but adding professional help might be safer than going it alone. Real estate agents are licensed, bonded, and possibly insured. That means you might be able to hold them accountable if something sours.

Scam Victim? Here’s What to Do

If you think you’ve fallen for a rental scam, do a couple of things fast. First: contact your bank immediately. Explain the situation, and ask them to stop any checks / payments or reverse any transfers.

Next, contact the local police department or sheriff’s office, county district attorney, and the California Department of Justice. Letting them know what happened allows these agencies to track this type of crime, and sometimes it can lead to an arrest.

Finally, report the incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through its Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.

As noted above, these scams can unfold fast, and once you’ve sent money to a criminal, it can be very difficult to get it back. The best strategy is to be prepared and cautious before you agree to any kind of rental deal.

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Federal Circuit Applies Collateral Estoppel and Avoids Antitrust Issues

Intellectual Ventures I LLC and Intellectual Ventures II LLC (collectively, “IV”) sued Capital One Financial Corp. and two affiliates (collectively, “Capital …

Updated: May 25, 2018:

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New Jersey hospital offers Lyft rides to transport patients to medical appointments

Communicating with patients through text message eliminates the requirement of a smartphone and the Lyft mobile application to schedule rides.
Jackie DreesFriday, September 13th, 2019 | Email

University Hospital patients will soon be able to use Lyft to receive free rides to and from their appointments.

The Newark, N.J.-based health system will begin rolling out the transportation service, at no cost to patients, for appointments at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital and the internal medicine or pediatric medicine departments at its ambulatory care center in Newark.

The service is available through University Hospital’s collaboration with Hitch Health, a healthcare technology company that seeks to remove transportation barriers for patients through software that integrates EHR and appointment systems with rideshare services including Lyft. Hitch Health will provide patients with rides and coordinate pick up and drop off times through HIPAA-compliant text messages, according to a University Hospital news release. Communicating with patients through text message eliminates the requirement of a smartphone and the Lyft mobile application to schedule rides.

“We know that our patients’ health outcomes can hinge on whether they’re able to get a safe ride to and from their appointments,” University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal said. “That’s because transportation can often be the difference between seeing a [physician] and going without much needed services — only to find folks at the doorsteps of our emergency room down the road.”

To ensure patient confidentiality, Lyft drivers who transport University Hospital patients will be unable to distinguish whether the ride was called by Hitch Health or scheduled through the company’s app, according to the news release.

More articles on health IT:

Cerner names 5 finalists for EHR code app challenge

Moody’s: Healthcare cyberattacks on the rise, small hospitals most vulnerable

Huntington Hospital’s solution to the challenge of measuring outreach impact? A DIY analytics platform

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Health Hires: Alston Bird, Goodwin, Xencor

Prior to joining Xencor, Eckert led Synthetic Genomics Inc. through its corporate and legal matters, served as associate general counsel at Sequenom …
Law360 (September 13, 2019, 11:01 AM EDT) — Alston & Bird has nabbed a former White House official who led President Donald Trump’s opioid relief legislative efforts, WilmerHale has landed a former WilmerHale attorney to work on biotechnology and pharmaceutical deals and Xencor has hired a new general counsel, headlining Law360’s latest roundup of personnel moves in the health care and life sciences arena.

Alston & Bird LLP

Jane Lucas Jane Lucas, a former special assistant in the Trump administration and former deputy associate counsel in the White House Counsel’s office, has joined Alston & Bird as a public policy, health care attorney in its Washington, D.C., office.

During her time…

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