Keeping Michigan families safe online

As technology continues to advance, it is having an ever-increasing impact on our daily lives. The way we access and share information is becoming more streamlined and instantaneous than ever.

While these advances, especially in mobile devices, allow us to significantly improve efficiency and organization throughout the day, it is important to be aware of the various security breaches that could compromise our privacy.

Each year, June is recognized as National Internet Safety Month as a means to spread awareness of the various ways you can keep yourself and your family safe online. As kids will be more active on their phones and social media making plans to enjoy the warm weather, it is the perfect time to talk to your family about staying safe online and learning new ways to protect your identity and information.

One of the best ways to stay safe online is by simply exercising good judgment. Keep your password updated regularly, and do not share it with anyone. Don’t click on links that are unfamiliar or open emails from an unknown sender. Scammers often create official-looking emails to persuade people to click a link that will download harmful software.

Having security software on all internet-connected devices and keeping it up to date is also of the utmost importance. These programs can prevent, contain and even eliminate malware, spyware and other malicious software that infects your device and tries to access your personal information.

Another way to keep your young children safe online is by using the state-operated child protection registry. The Michigan Child Protection Registry is a service that families can sign up for at no cost. It blocks adult-oriented material from reaching a child’s email inbox, cell phone or instant messenger ID. To sign up or see more information on this service, visit www.ProtectMiChild.com.

The internet has allowed society to advance more rapidly than ever imaginable. Humanity has an infinite amount of wisdom right at the end of their fingertips. We can now sync calendars and photo albums to multiple devices, pay bills and do a virtually unlimited amount of other things via an internet connection. This month, help older family members set up safety measures on their computers, and take the time to ensure your children are safe when using social media.

The internet is an invaluable asset. When used safely, it can be enjoyed by everyone.

The Top 10 Michigan consumer complaints

Fighting fraud, scams and bogus charities are just a few of the things the Consumer Protection Division of the department of attorney general handles. This division is focused on the important work of stopping fraudsters and raising awareness of deceitful scams.

In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, the attorney general’s office announced the top 10 Michigan consumer complaint categories for 2015:

  1. Credit and financial concerns;
  2. Telecommunications, cable and satellite TV;
  3. Retail;
  4. Motor vehicle and automobiles;
  5. Internet;
  6. Personal service providers;
  7. Landlord and tenant;
  8. Gasoline, fuel and energy;
  9. Contractors; and
  10. Health service providers.

The Consumer Protection Division is an integral part of the DNA of the department of attorney general. The cases that the Consumer Protection Division handles are vital to protecting Michigan taxpayers. Whether those cases involve children who have been ignored by a parent failing to pay child support, or environmental issues, even Medicaid fraud or patient abuse, the department of attorney general spends countless hours mediating complaints that fall within their jurisdiction.

However, not all consumer complaints or inquiries are handled by the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division. By law, many other state and federal agencies and departments are involved in assisting consumers. To direct your complaint or inquiry to the appropriate agency, consult the Consumer Complaint Directory, which can be found at www.michigan.gov/ag. For example, many complaints surrounding cars should be reported to the secretary of state’s office.

To file a complaint, Michigan residents should visit the attorney general’s website: www.michigan.gov/ag. A written complaint is the most efficient route to reach the consumer protection team and can be sent to:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909