Posted by Tom Boven on Jan 25, 2018
 
Jan. 19 Rotary Report
SLCC meeting
This is the year that politics, in the guise of success and information, is being offered to our local Rotary Clubs and other Service Clubs as good information for consideration.  Brandon Sinclair, a Constituent Relations Representative for Attorney General Bill Schuette, representing our State in its legal endeavors, made an appearance to bring the members up to date on issues relating to Consumer Scams, avoiding scams, and reporting financial abuse.  Dave Stocking, acting for the absent Pres. Holly, introduced Brandon.   He is actually completing his undergraduate program and is working for the AG’s office out of Grand Rapids, with a mission to advise the citizens of Michigan about being informed on avoiding mostly financial scams.
Brandon is an Eagle Scout, still involved with various scouting efforts, and working to become informed himself about career opportunities involving public service.  He started off by commenting on the Equifax breach of credit information that actually has adversely impacted potentially millions of individuals that have had their credit histories, social security numbers, credit card info and related stored data hacked.  This information is now being sold and used by fraudsters to gain access to funds and credit at the cost of individuals and business interests.  Why is it so important to stop unlawful use of our information?  Because ultimately the cost of fraud is reflected in the increased cost of goods and services.   Also an individual who is scammed may find their credit record is destroyed, and this will result in delay when attempting to secure credit to buy a car, home, goods and services.  A handout was provided with direction to a website to see how our own credit information has been impacted.  See Equifaxsecurity2017.com. 
The AG’s law service comprises the largest law firm in the State of Michigan, with over 350 attorneys and 160 administrative and para legal types.   At the present time, other than consumer fraud as mentioned above, the AG’s handle many matters dealing with drug abuse (heroin, opiates, meth, and not so much cannabis) human sex and slave trafficking, and bullying in schools.   While there is a lot of the typical street crimes, property matters, and local emergencies, such as bad water sources, etc. the things that come home to many citizens involve elder abuse, both financial and institutional, and the areas in the headlines:  MSU, Flint, Rockford, and multi-state claims against abusive business practices, primarily in the pharmaceutical, medical, financial scheme, and trafficking areas.   All of the areas need enforcement proceedings, and cooperation among the states impacted and sometimes the federal government.
Another handout dealt with the plethora of illegal solicitations by so-called charities, which try to convince a citizen that the good deeds of a particular charity are worthy of a donation.  Areas focused on included being aware that even though many public safety organizations are legitimate in their efforts to fund raise, many are not.  Most public safety organizations are supported by taxes.  The other activities of the organizations are frequently poorly organized and the funds mainly go to support the fund raisers.  The professional fundraisers take most of the funds raised, so be careful to whom you give.   Also, accepting an unsolicited phone call (robo call) can result in providing more information to the caller than you expect.  Always screen your calls, and the word of advice is NO !   Do not answer unsolicited robo calls, and do not give financial info over the phone.   
The final bit of wisdom, was advice to Think about a charitable gift, and investigate the situation.  Local United Fund agencies and the charitable organizations that belong to those agencies are usually registered with the AG’s office, and have been vetted by local people as to being worthwhile and legitimate.  
Thanks Brandon for your timely reminders, and also that even our AG seems to be well organized with presenting his messages this Election Year!!  
Your Scribe,  Tom Boven