Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was a guest at the El Dorado Rotary Club’s Wednesday meeting.
Schmidt spoke to the Rotary members about some of the things his office does.
Three of his priorities as attorney general are consumer protection, making sure federal regulations don’t overstep their boundaries in Kansas and working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
He also spoke about a personal fraud experience.
“I came home to Independence one evening and a person called and said they were calling because of questionable credit card activity,” said Schmidt. “There was unusual activity on my card.”
After verifying the caller was actually from his credit card company, Schmidt found out someone had used his card in Italy.
“I tell you that story because I was the Republican nominee for attorney general when that happened,” he said.
As attorney general, one of his priorities is working on behalf of Kansans who have similar experiences.
“What I call remote commerce fraud has exploded,” he said. “We get a lot of those types of calls. The fastest growing crime is identity theft.”
He told the audience to be careful when shopping online and posting information on social media sites.
“Prevention is the best weapon,” he said. “We receive 7,000 consumer complaints a year.”
Schmidt also warned against the grandparent scam, which is popular among con artists right now.
“The odds are very good that it will be a senior citizen who has grandchildren who don’t live in the local community,” he said.
The crook will tell the elderly person he or she is actually that person’s grandchild and is in some sort of trouble, and needs the grandparent to wire money immediately. If the senior citizen does end up wiring the money, the thieves would then have access to bank account information.
In addition to consumer protection, Schmidt spoke about his efforts to keep the federal government from overstepping its bounds.
“There are legal limits on government for a reason,” he said.
He discussed some environmental regulations the Environmental Protection Agency had wanted to enforce in Kansas that his office successfully fought against.
Schmidt also spoke about his relationship with the KBI and the agency’s ability to provide support to local law enforcement.
The KBI operates four forensics labs across the state. The reason for having them spread out is to reduce travel time for scientists who have to testify in court.
Page 2 of 2 - “Our scientists have to be very good,” he said. “They also have to be trained in law enforcement.”
He talked about how forensic science has changed over the past few decades, and talked about the scientists’ workload.
“Average turnaround time is 14 months for major person felonies,” said Schmidt. “We don’t have enough human talent to keep up.”
He said the KBI is working with Washburn University to construct a new building on the university’s campus to house state of the art research facilities.
After he was done speaking, Schmidt answered questions from Rotary members and thanked them for letting him visit.