Tuesday, December 1, 2015

SCAM UPDATE – FTC Takes Action

There is a lot of information about scams and fraud being published now. Here is some information about the latest developments in the scam world:

FTC Clamps Down on Favored Payment Methods by Crooks. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adopted new rules to ban the use of payment methods often preferred by scammers and fraudsters. The methods often act like cash and are hard to trace the transaction or to recover the funds. The now banned methods include:

·         Money transfer services, including Western Union, MoneyGram, and RIA Money Transfer.

·         Cash reload cards such as MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, and Reloadit. Also banned are services that add money to existing prepaid debit cards.

·         Remotely created electronic checks. In this case, the scammer will ask for the routing and account numbers found on your checks and then withdraw the funds directly from your checking account.

Under its rule making authority, the FTC has banned these methods. Now, if a telemarketer asks for payment by any of these methods, they are breaking the law. If you receive a call from a scammer asking for payment by any of the banned methods, the FTC asks that you report them to the FTC at
NBC News:


FTC Takes Action Against Medical “Discount” Card Scammers. The FTC has obtained a judgement against Constanza Gomez Vargas, Walter S. Vargas, and United Solutions Group Inc. for falsely telling consumers that they were buying a qualified health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act. United Solutions Group targeted Spanish-speaking consumers convincing them to purchase medical discount cards. Consumers were told that the cards were like insurance and would pay for doctor and emergency room visits. The cards were worthless despite the consumers making monthly payments from $99 to several hundred dollars.


Bad Guys Use Rentals to Scam People. If you are looking for an apartment or house to rent, be careful of whom you are working with. This item from LifeLock should be a warning:


Holidays are a Good Time for Scammers. I have emphasized this over the last few weeks. But, here is an article from the “Credit Union Times” with the 12 Scams of Christmas.” Some you already know, but others you might not have heard about.

Credit Union Times:




Sunday, November 29, 2015

HOLIDAY SHOPPING – Beware of Cyber Thieves

Online shopping continues to grow, especially on Cyber Monday. Online shopping is a prime activity for cyber thieves to steal your identity. Cyber security specialists recommend that you take the following actions to prevent becoming a victim on ID theft online:

           Watch out for online scams

   o    Be wary of deals that are too good to be true. Scammers often sneak “malvertising” with legitimate ads on the web.

   o    Avoid pop ups or offers with free downloads.

   o    Be wary of clicking on links. If a link seems to take you to a legitimate retailer, type the URL, don’t click the link.

           Shop securely

o   Be sure that the URL starts with “https” or a green lock shows on your browser before you make your online order.

o   Research online retailers that are you are not familiar with before you order.

o   Don’t do any online shopping through public Wi-Fi networks. Use your secure network at home (or work if the boss isn’t looking).

           Use two-factor authentication

o   Two-factor authentication adds a step to ensure that you are you (

           Be sure your antivirus, antimalware, web browser and firewall are all up to date







Tuesday, November 24, 2015


You might have noticed that information that you normally can see on is not available or you cannot get into the web site.

According to Shari Ireton, the Communications Director/PIO for the Sheriff’s Office, the contract with has ended. The county is looking into a new vendor for crime mapping. It will take several weeks before crime mapping returns.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Crime Prevention Newsletter Holiday Issue

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has released the holiday issue of “Partners in Crime Prevention.” This issue focuses on ID theft, tips on preventing crime while you shop and how to prevent home burglaries.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:


Monday, November 23, 2015


The holidays are coming and with that the big shopping season of the year. Online shopping and therefore package delivery continues to grow as more people take advantage of the ease of looking for gifts and ordering them with their computer, tablet or smartphone.

UPS, Federal Express and the Postal Service will be busy delivering packages in the next few weeks. Securing delivered packages can be difficult. Too often the TV news has video of someone going up to a front porch and then walking (or running) away with a package that had been left a few minutes before. Before the advent of inexpensive security camera systems, the homeowner would be out of luck. With cameras, at least the victim homeowner can show police who took the package.

Preventing package theft can be difficult. For most of us, having a package waiting on our front doorstep makes it vulnerable to theft. Even if a neighbor picks it up for you, soon after it is delivered, or you have a camera covering your front porch, the package can be gone. You can’t expect your neighbor to have their eyes glued to your house all day. And your camera cannot stop a thief. All it can do is show a picture of a thief.

Crime prevention professionals often talk in terms of “hardening the target” and taking away “opportunity” for a theft. One way to harden the target might be to have a locking box that the UPS or FedEx driver can deposit your package into. No one makes a locking box that is easy to use for the driver or the homeowner. And if they did, then there is a problem of how big to make it; too small and larger packages can’t be placed in it, too large and it may not be practical to place on the front porch.

Taking away opportunity would mean that the package is not visible from the street. Some things that you can do to take away opportunity include:

  • Request a signature on delivery. This means that whoever accepts the package signs for it ensuring that the driver hands it to someone at the delivery destination. If no one is available to sign for it, the driver will try to deliver it on another day.
  • Instruct the delivery service to leave the package someplace that is out of sight of the street, such as the back door.
  • One other option that UPS offers is to enter your garage code as part of your profile in their free My Choice service. When the driver is 10 feet from your house, he/she is given your code to open the garage door. The driver can place the package in your garage and then close the door. The code disappears from the driver’s handheld when he/she is beyond 10 feet from your house. 
If you are having a package delivered to your home, sign up for an automatic alert to your email or via a text so that you know it has been delivered. You might also consider using an app that tracks your package.

Encourage your neighbors who stay at home to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles (for example following delivery trucks) and report them to 911 right away.

This is where locking mailboxes have an advantage. Many residential locking mailbox units that serve 4, 8 or more houses have one or two locked package compartments. While UPS and FedEx drivers do not have access to these units, when a package is delivered by your postal carrier it is secure.

You can also:

·         Have your packages delivered to your work address or to a neighbor’s address.

·         Have your packages sent to a nearby UPS or FedEx Office location.

Protecting your delivered packages is currently an imperfect proposition. To have absolute security from the time the package delivery company accepts it to your hands may require some inconvenience. While cameras can act as somewhat of a deterrent, they are not perfect. If you are not picking up your package at a UPS, FedEx, or Postal Service facility or at work, taking your package into your house as soon as possible after delivery may be your best strategy to preventing package theft.









Sunday, November 22, 2015

WASHINGTON STATE PATROL- Scammers Impersonating WSP Troopers Association

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) reports that it has received numerous calls from the public regarding phone calls from individuals claiming to be from the WSP and soliciting contributions over the past 4 months. The WSP has determined that the phone calls are from scammers

The Washington State Patrol Troopers Association (WSPTA) does have a telemarketing company that solicits the public for donations. However, the company does not use hard sell tactics nor will they ask for credit card numbers or personal financial information over the phone. Also, individual troopers will not call you soliciting donations.

Be skeptical of anyone representing themselves as a trooper or from the Troopers Association who wants your credit card or other financial information. WSP recommends that if you think you are receiving a call from a WSP scammer, hang up and call one of the local WSP district offices.

District Offices:

District 2, Bellevue- (425) 401- 7788

District 7, Marysville- (360) 654-1204

For information on legitimate solicitors in Washington State, go to the Secretary of State’s Charities Program webpage at








Saturday, November 14, 2015

PARIS ATTACKS- Where to Give

With our revulsion at the Paris attacks yesterday we naturally want to give support to the victims.

In a press release, the American Red Cross says that it is currently not seeking donations for Parisian victims (  

If you would like to donate for victim relief, here are some legitimate organizations to consider:

·         Doctors Without Borders-

·         French Red Cross (in French)-

·         Restaurants du Coeur (in French, provides food for those in need)-

·         Secours Populaire Francais (an aid organization)-

·         Solidarites International (an aid organization)-

Be wary of anyone contacting you on the phone, email, or via social media soliciting donations related to the Paris tragedy. If the caller pressures you to donate right away, wants cash or wants the funds wired to them hang up.

Here is some general guidance if you would like to give:

Washington State Secretary of State:


Federal Trade Commission:

Here are some other articles about supporting the Parisian victims: