02-20-2020 Letters and Commentary

An Edinborough in Edinburgh Dear Karl, You often write about your experiences overseas during the war. These reminded me of the time one of my neighbors was sent to Britain. While there he had a leave during which he went to Scotland. My neighbor’s surname was Edinborough. On a visit to Edinburgh he wanted to cash some American traveler’s checks. The financial places he asked to cash them couldn’t quite understand how a “Scotsman” could be in an American uniform and wanted to cash American traveler’s checks. It took several discussions for Warren Edinborough to convince the financial places that he was an American citizen in the proper uniform and could be in their city quite honestly wanting to cash American traveler’s checks in Edinburgh, Scotland. He finally convinced them. Olive Grady, Watervliet

Scammers posing as health officials (Press Release) Telephone scammers are posing as human services officials and attempting to steal personal information from unsuspecting Michigan residents, warns Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon and the Michigan State Police. Officials have received multiple complaints from residents who have been contacted by scammers pretending to be MDHHS employees in Kalamazoo County who then ask for personal information that could be used to steal identities. The scammers often use a practice known as spoofing, which allows phone calls to appear as if they are coming from real department phone numbers. Anyone who receives one of those calls should hang up the phone. No one should give out personal information to an unsolicited caller. “If you are ever asked by an unsolicited caller to give out personal information, don’t do it,” Nessel said. “Hang up the phone immediately and report anything that you suspect might be a scam to our office.” In the past several months, multiple local health departments have also received reports of scammers posing as public health officials from residents in Bay, Jackson, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties. “MDHHS does not call clients and ask for detailed personal information over the phone,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “At most a department caseworker would ask for a date of birth or the last four digits of your Social Security number. The Michigan State Police offers tips on how to avoid becoming a scam victim: Never give personal information to an unknown caller; do not respond to unsolicited emails from an unknown sender; confirm the identity of a contact by independently speaking with the identified source (your bank, credit card company, government agency, etc.); use a reliable source to confirm the contact’s phone number or email; and report any suspicious contacts to police. Those who wish to make a report about scam calls can do so by contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. A complaint can be filed online or by calling 877-765-8388.

Rare Disease Day an opportunity to spread awareness Most families have been affected in some way by disease — conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer are common throughout our state and nation, and treatments for them are effective and well established. Less common, however, is the collection of some 6,000 rare diseases. Some, like Lou Gehrig’s disease, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease, are more known to the public. But thousands and thousands more are known only to those who are affected by them and the health care professionals who go to work every day trying to find cures. Individually, rare diseases affect a small fraction of the population, but together they impact over 30 million lives. To put it another way — one out of 10 people will live with a rare disease. Despite the relatively large number of people with a rare disease, many of these diseases have no known treatment or are incurable and, what’s more, they often go undiagnosed. Too many families affected by rare diseases struggle through the health care system, fighting with insurance companies, making costly trips to medical specialists, and enduring multiple tests — all in search of answers and hope. That’s why we observe Rare Disease Day on the last day of February — to help raise the public’s awareness of rare diseases and to help bring attention, increase knowledge and highlight the incredible work that is being done by medical researchers and physicians to develop treatments and find cures. Much of that work is being done right here in Michigan. The organizers of Rare Disease Day cite its growth — now observed in over 100 countries — as an example of the progress that continues to be made in the fight against these diseases. If you would like to find out more about Rare Disease Day and how you can participate, visit RareDiseaseDay.org. For more information on rare diseases, check out the National Institutes of Health Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center at rarediseases.info.nih.gov. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.