Monday, March 20, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- FTC Offers Tips for Businesses Impersonated as part of a Phishing Scam

We have become familiar with impersonation scams where someone claims to represent a company or government agency. The IRS scam, the warrant scam, and the tech support scam are three impersonation scams. Scammers also claim to be from financial institutions such as banks to send phishing emails in an attempt to insert malware onto your computer device or get you to give them your personal information.

Most impersonation schemes that have been talked about have involved large, well known organization. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) however, has issued guidance to all businesses in steps to take in case they are used in an impersonation/phishing scam.

While many large businesses have developed procedures for this situation, smaller businesses may not have the procedures. Smaller businesses assume that they will not be used by scammers, but, given the technology that scammers have to gain access to any computer system and to spoof their true identity, small businesses should be prepared to handle this situation.

If you own or work for a small business, review this link with your ownership and/or fellow employees:

Federal Trade Commission:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

EDMONDS PD- Internet and Social Media Safety

Recently the Edmonds Police Department hosted a presentation about the internet and social media safety conducted by Detective Stacie Trykar. Detective Trykar gives suggestions on how you can protect your teen from danger on the internet, what social media sites and apps are currently popular with teens and relates some cases that have crossed her desk concerning teens, sexting, and potential exploitation.

The video is well worth viewing. It is an hour and a half so watch it when you have some time.

Edmonds Police Department:

Friday, March 10, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Handling Scam Calls, Fake Checks, Imposter Scams

With the revelation of the kidnapper scam in Snohomish County, here are some updates on scams around our area:

How to Handle a Scam Call. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has some advice on how to handle a scam call:

·         If your phone rings, and you do not recognize the number, do not feel obliged to answer the call.

·         You do not have to call back.

·         Greetings are often the trigger for the scam phone call.

·         The best office is a good defense.

·         No one is entitled to your information over the phone.

For more details, go to,


Fake Check Scams. Scammers will find an excuse to send you a check, “hire” you for a job or tell you that you won a sweepstakes. But the check is for more than what you are supposed to receive. Their solution, keep what they owe you and send them the difference. Eventually, the check bounces and you are out your money. For more, take a look at this link,

Better Business Bureau:

Oh, and it isn’t just the average person that receives these checks. Here is a story about the King County Sheriff, John Urquhart, receiving a fake check,


Imposter Scams are Increasing.  The IRS says that it has been able to reduce the number of fraudulent tax returns, but the Federal Trade Commission says that it has seen an uptick in the number of imposter scams.

This video talks about the problem and what to look out for. Hint: just hang up.

CBS News:

While the kidnapping scam received publicity locally this week, it is a national problem also as noted by this Federal Trade Commission alert,

Federal Trade Commission:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

SNOHOMISH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Newsletter Issue on Volunteers

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has published its latest issue of its crime prevention newsletter “Partners in Crime Prevention.” In this issue, the Sheriff’s Office talks about its volunteer program and how the Sheriff’s volunteers contribute to the community.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


The Everett Police Department and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are warning citizens about a kidnapping scam going around in the county and the city.

The police agencies say that people have been receiving a phone call where the caller claims that they have kidnapped a child or other relative and demand a ransom. To add a sense of realism, the victim can hear someone screaming in the background.

Several citizens have reported receiving a call from the scammer. The caller is always male and the victims all heard screaming in the background. In one case, an Everett resident had been told that his 23-year-old daughter had been kidnapped and the caller demanded $30,000 in ransom.

The police agencies also note that the calls come from area codes in Mexico (525 and 528). In June of 2016, the FBI noted similar false kidnapping calls (called in the area as “virtual kidnapping” extortion calls) in the San Antonio, Texas area.

The FBI provided the following guidance should you receive a kidnapping call.

To avoid becoming a victim of this extortion scheme, look for the following possible indicators:

·         Calls are usually made from an outside area code

·         May involve multiple phone calls

·         Calls do not come from the kidnapped victim’s phone

·         Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone

·         Callers prevent you from calling or locating the “kidnapped” victim

·         Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service

If you receive a phone call from someone who demands payment of a ransom for a kidnapped victim, the following should be considered:

·         Stay calm.

·         Try to slow the situation down.

·         Avoid sharing information about you or your family during the call.

·         Request to speak to the victim directly. Ask, “How do I know my loved one is okay?”

·         Request the kidnapped victim call back from his/her cell phone.

·         Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim if they speak, and ask questions only they would know.

·         If they don’t let you speak to the victim, ask them to describe the victim or describe the vehicle they drive, if applicable.

·         While staying on the line with alleged kidnappers, try to call the alleged kidnap victim from another phone.

·         Attempt to text, or contact the victim via social media.

·         Attempt to physically locate the victim.

·         To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.

·         Don’t directly challenge or argue with the caller. Keep your voice low and steady.

Everett PD and the Sheriff’s Office recommends the following:

·         Try to write down the number of the caller, then hang up.

·         If you cannot immediately verify the whereabouts of your allegedly kidnapped family member, call 911 and ask for assistance from law enforcement.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office/Everett Police Department:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

BURGLARY PREVENTION- More Advice from a Burglar

Last month I posted a video with a former burglar who talked about how he decided what houses to enter and how he did his burglaries. Recently, NBC broadcast a video with another burglar giving similar information and advice.

The former burglar reaffirms some things that police have said for many years:

·         Many people keep their doors and windows unlocked. Be sure to lock your doors and windows when you leave home. And that can also mean when you in the back-yard gardening. Locking your doors is probably the best deterrent against a burglar.

·         Indicators that no one is home include mail in your mailbox and no car in the driveway. So, be sure to pick up your mail daily or use a locking mailbox. Newspapers piling up in front of your house is also a good indicator of no one at home. Also, especially when you are on a trip, have a neighbor park a vehicle in your driveway.

·         Residential burglars work during the day. This former burglar said that he worked between 8:00am and 2:00pm. This timeframe is when he thought most people would not be home. Burglars do not want to encounter anyone while they enter a house. A person coming home is a burglar’s worst nightmare.

·         Neighborhood Watch signs work. Nosy neighbors are an excellent deterrent to burglars.

·         Barking dogs are a good deterrent.

He pointed out some things that he said do not work:

·         He ignores security alarms and cameras. Burglars are usually in a house for only a few minutes (single digits) at most. It can take police longer to arrive at the scene. With cameras, a burglar can cover his face to help police from identifying him.

·         He also ignores lights on timers. Having lights on around your house, especially where you park your car, are best at night to deter car prowlers.

Just because this one burglar says he ignores alarms and cameras does not mean that you should not have them. Crime prevention professionals make many recommendations. No one recommendation by itself will save you from a burglary. You should use a variety of techniques to protect yourself. For example, an alarm that sounds outside your house can alert a neighbor, who stays at home, who can investigate and then call 911 and/or you about what is going on. Cameras have a deterrent effect on some burglars. But it may not be 100 percent. After all we have seen many videos of package thieves taking packages from front porches lately. Yes, they can cover their faces, but the video can help police understand who broke into your house.

Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do. Get into the habit of locking your doors. Consider an alarm system and cameras. Cooperate with your neighbors in a Neighborhood Watch.


Monday, March 6, 2017

NORTH CREEK- Emergency Preparedness Workshop

In the North Creek area, 13Point6 and the Snohomish County Department of Emergency management will host a one hour emergency preparedness workshop on March 16th at 6:30pm at Light of the Cross Lutheran Church, 2717 180th St SE, Bothell, WA 98012.

Subjects that will be covered include:

·         The 9 steps to take immediately following a disaster

·         Develop a “Neighborhood Skill and Equipment” inventory

·         Map your neighborhood and identify areas of concern

·         Verify which neighbors need extra help in a disaster such as the elderly, those with a disability, and children.

 To register, send an email to