To protect the citizens of Michigan from individuals who claim to hold a license in a particular field, the State of Michigan has provided a means for the general public to be able to verify whether or not a person is properly licensed in an occupation. The Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth provides the "Check A License" link for that purpose.

While this tool provides a great service to the public, in rare instances, the information provided can be abused. DELEG's Bureau of Commercial Services' Licensing Division was recently contacted by a licensee who reported that her license number was used to gain the access code to a lock box on a listed property. When the licensee received an e-mail confirming her appointment, she immediately called the listing broker's office to inform them that she had not made the appointment.

This type of incident emphasizes the importance of having proper procedures in place for dispensing sensitive information such as this. To protect yourself and your customers and clients, we encourage you to adhere to methods to ensure unauthorized individuals are not given restricted information. Providing information without first ascertaining that the individuals are who they claim to be is a questionable and potentially dangerous practice.

A proven method suggests that you send an e-mail to confirm the appointment, by which the lock box information is sent, or calling the nonpublic-published phone number for the licensee. Whatever means your office has in place, it's important that your entire staff is aware of and abides by it. Remember that real estate rules require that each broker's office have in place written policies and procedures for all licensees. Including a strengthened office practice detailing what is expected in this area will protect everyone. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.