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CA Jurors Caught Using Social Media May Soon Be Fined $1,500

It is tempting in this time when we are all reporting our lives on social media to tweet or post from court if you're a juror. Your jury service is indeed interesting but it's also one time when you might not want to express yourself.

As a juror, you are part of a legal proceeding; you're not present as a spectator or a journalist. Disobeying the rules is punishable but it also can lead to a mistrial. Now a bill in California proposes to fine smart tech use by jurors, reports CBS Sacramento, up to $1,500.

The Internet can be a big, scary place, and you've got to worry about everything from who your kids might be chatting with to who might have access to your credit card information. While being online can make communication and commerce easier, it can make protecting your personal information and even personal safety harder.

Here are seven tips for staying safe online:

Check the BBB Scam Tracker Ahead of Online Deals

We book rooms in people's houses rather than stay in hotels, and we get rides from strange drivers in their personal vehicles instead of grabbing a cab, so of course we buy stuff online, too. With new technology making it possible, every year we grow more accustomed to doing deals a little differently.

But the ease with which we now exchange with strangers also makes us more susceptible to scams. Enter the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker. The online tool allows people to report suspected illegal schemes or frauds, and warn others what to watch out for when they've been scammed.

Scams are all around us. Fake wedding vendors; fake office supplies; and even fake grandchildren in distress. And now fake jury duty?

Most people do everything they can to avoid jury duty, and now they have to tray and avoid a jury duty scam so convincing it almost duped an experienced lawyer. Here's how it works:

Can Facebook Contact Violate a Restraining Order?

You're online and your social network serves up a profile. It's someone you know and loathe: that person who also has a restraining order against you. Can you tag or comment or contact them in any way?

No. It is far better to be safe than sorry when it come to no-contact orders. Contact via social media is most definitely contact. A judge in New York last week ruled that commenting on a Facebook page can violate a protective order even if the post has no profanity or threats, the American Bar Association reports.

When writing about broad legal topics for these blogs, we often bring up specific examples to explain the law. For instance, we used Bill Cosby's wife to talk about when spouses can be forced to testify. Of course, Camille Cosby and her husband are public figures, so that comes with the territory, so to speak.

Not everyone whose case we write about is famous (yet), and we often get angry calls, emails, or tweets, when someone sees their name or legal case on our websites. Here's the thing though: almost all civil and criminal legal filings are public records, and the First Amendment protects publishing them.

Shoppers, Beware Christmas Counterfeits

Christmas shoppers in a hurry to check everyone off of their gift lists may wish to take a moment to pause. Almost a quarter of online shoppers unknowingly purchased a counterfeit brand online, according to a study published by Trademarks and Brands Online.

The vast majority of those consumers said they would not have bought the counterfeit product if they were aware it was a fake. But the chances of making a mistake go up during Christmas when people tend to buy a lot on a short deadline. As online shopping increases generally -- and specifically ahead of the holiday season -- so does the likelihood of buying a fake.

There may have been a moment, a brief blip of Internet time, when trolling was harmless and funny. But as instances online harassment and cyberbullying have escalated, we've become aware of how serious the real life consequences of Internet trolling can be.

As schools are now teaching online safety and states are passing cyberbullying laws, insurance companies are also pitching in and providing "troll insurance" to cover victims of online harassment. So what does troll insurance cover and can you add it to your insurance coverage?

It's not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- some of us will be doing our holiday shopping right up until Christmas Eve. And whether you're grabbing gifts online or IRL, you need to keep your ID secure.

Here are a few tips on avoiding identity theft during the holiday shopping season:

Has Anyone Died in Your House? Now You Can Find Out

Is your house haunted by ghosts and meth labs past? You can find out for $12, which may be worth it if you are the curious type or are about to buy a property with a grisly tale.

The Died In House site says it will search 130 million police records and death certificates associated with an address for a fee. It will also give you facts about death data in your state for free.