Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ORLANDO TRAGEDY- Beware of Scammers

We have been shocked one more time due to another mass killing, this time in Orlando, Florida. Even more disappointing is that warnings are being issued to watch out for scammers taking advantage of the tragedy by trying to convince people to give money to a bogus charity. While reports of this scam have not surfaced as yet in Snohomish County, a reminder to be careful is unfortunately in order.

Some simple tell-tale signs of a scam include:

·         A “charitable” organization that you have not heard of calling you on the phone or sending you an email requesting a donation.

·         The caller pressures you to donate immediately.

·         The caller asks you to wire cash or provide the number for a pre-paid debit card.

·         The caller offers to send a courier or overnight-delivery service to pick up your donation.

Long time readers already know to be careful. But if you know someone who might not be aware of this scam, please talk to them and show them the information in the following links:

Better Business Bureau:

USA Today:

Federal Trade Commission:

Friday, June 10, 2016

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- County Council Committee to Discuss Fireworks

Fireworks can be a controversial subject. This long time tradition for celebrating the 4th of July and for other celebrations such as greeting the New Year can polarize a community into for or against. Concern about fireworks has been shown with the dry summer last year and the expected dry summer this year.

The office of Councilmember Terry Ryan, Council District 4, has announced that the County Council Operations Committee will discuss fireworks options at its June 14 meeting. The meeting will begin at 9:00am and will be held in the council chambers on the 8th floor of the Robert J. Drewel Building at 3000 Rockefeller Ave Everett, WA 98201.

While no formal action will be taken at this meeting, the committee will take public comment. Verbal statements from the public are limited to three minutes per person.

If you cannot attend, but would like the council to know your opinion on the subject, you can send an email to the entire County Council at

Councilmember Ryan’s email address is

Thursday, June 9, 2016

CASCADIA RISING- Preparing for the Big Earthquake

Federal, state and local government agencies have been conducting an exercise this week to prepare for an expected 8.0-9.0 earthquake. The last time an earthquake of this magnitude, along with a major tsunami, occurred in the Pacific Northwest was in 1700. Scientists believe that a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami occur once every 200 to 500 years along an 800-mile ling fault called the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The exercise has received press attention locally. Emergency management officials not only are publicizing the expected difficulties when a 9.0 earthquake occurs but also are encouraging all of us to be prepared to survive independently for 3 days to 2 weeks.

There are many resources online that you can use to educate yourself on what to do to prepare for an earthquake, as well as what to do to survive during an earthquake and steps to take to recover. Here are some helpful web sites:

Cascadia Rising 2016, This link gives an overview of the exercise:

Earthquake, Be Smart, Know your hazard; This site has materials that give instruction on how to prepare for an earthquake:

How to Prepare for an Earthquake; Here is a manual for earthquake preparation:

The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management also has guidance to prepare for all kinds of disasters:

Here is a manual on emergency preparedness:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning that citizens in the county have been receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a Sheriff’s sergeant asking the victim to purchase a pre-paid credit card or money order.

According to the alert, the call goes something like this: "This is Sgt. Smith and I regret to inform you that you missed federal jury duty last April. A notice of your service was sent to you by certified mail. There is now a warrant out for your arrest and we are on our way to your house right now. If you don't pay the $5,000 fine to have the warrant lifted, we will arrest you. You can pay by providing me with the numbers on a pre-paid credit card over the phone."

The alert emphasizes that this is a scam.

For more information of recent scams reported in Snohomish County, go to

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- Abduction Scam, Phony Weight Loss Pills, Rental Scams, Moving Scams

Abduction Scam. The Better Business Bureau and the FBI are warning citizens about a new scam. In the scam, that originated in the New York City area, the victim receives a call from an unknown person who claims to be holding their son or daughter for ransom. To gain release, the scammer demands that the victim wire money to them. Wired funds or pre-paid debit cards are untraceable.

Callers may make the phone calls at random or they may research their victim on social media to gather enough information about the family member to be able to make a convincing story. Callers often insist that the victim stay on the phone. This is an attempt to make it more difficult for the victim to verify that their family member is in danger or not. They also try to instill fear, panic and urgency to get the victim emotional and therefore compliant to their instructions. The victim is pressured to act immediately.

Frequently the calls originate from outside area codes. Calls often have come from the Puerto Rico area codes of (787), (939) and (856).

For more details on how this scam works and tips to protect yourself check out the following links:

Better Business Bureau:


Phony Weight Loss Pills. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged four defendants with peddling fake weight loss remedies with illegal spam emails. The defendants hack into individual email accounts to gain access to email addresses. The defendants send emails to those addresses making it appear that the emails came from the hacked account. The emails made it look like a friend was providing a tip about the weight loss product. Often the email contained a link to a web site that promoted the product with fake endorsements from famous celebrities or an independent consumer reporter. Claims included losing “4lbs/week of belly fat” or “41.7lbs in 2.5 months.”

Here more details:


Rental Scams. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has noted an upswing of rental scams in its northwest region for the last year. Last month, a Wenatchee man reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker that someone tried to rent his house without his knowledge. Several people showed up at his door ready to move in even though the house was not for sale or rent. Earlier in the year, a Spokane man reported being asked to fill out a credit report as a condition to tour an apartment allegedly for rent.

To protect yourself from a rental scam, the BBB suggests that you:

·         Ask for a walk-through inspection.

·         Research the location.

·         Pay with a credit card.

·         Be skeptical of low prices


Moving Scams. In a related scam, the AARP warns against movers who try to hold household goods hostage for higher quotes. According to AARP, some movers advertise on Craigslist or roadside signs. Their initial quote may be reasonable or lower than other movers. After the household goods are loaded on the truck, the quote sky-rockets and the household goods are held hostage until the extra is paid.

AARP recommends the following to avoid getting hurt by a moving company:

·         Get recommendations from friend, family or your real estate agent.

·         Know the red flags. That includes no on-site inspections of your goods, no written estimate, demands for a large deposit, insistence to sign blank or incomplete documents.

·         Know your rights and responsibilities. Download this handbook:

·        Understand the costs and estimates of the mover’s proposal.

·         Get a written order for service. This document lists what the mover will do and the pickup and delivery dates.


Monday, May 30, 2016

911- New Non-emergency Numbers

For decades, Snohomish County citizens have been told to call 911 for emergency and non-emergency calls. This included emergency life and death calls, calls about suspicious activity, calls for animal control.

Effective on June 1, both SNOPAC and SNOCOM, the two 911 agencies in Snohomish County, will institute non-emergency phone numbers. The non-emergency numbers are intended for non-life threatening situations that have no immediate danger to life or property. The purpose of the non-emergency number is to reduce potential delays on the 911 line while continuing to provide service for non-emergency matters.

Some situations to call the non-emergency numbers include reporting found property, reporting suspicious activity that is not in progress, reporting the discovery of a burglary or theft not in progress or when you do not have suspect information, illegal fireworks, noise complaint, reporting an abandoned vehicle.

Call 911 when you have an emergency situation such as a life threatening medical situation, robbery/burglary/car prowl in progress, a suicide attempt in progress.

If you are not sure if your situation is an emergency call 911.

To report a power outage, call the Snohomish County PUD at (425) 783-1001. Call 911 if power lines are down on a street or road or otherwise causing a danger.

The Non-emergency phone numbers are:

SNOPAC- (425) 407-3999

SNOCOM- (425) 775-3000

SNOPAC services police and fire agencies such as the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Everett Police Department. For a complete list of the agencies that it services go to

SNOCOM services police and fire agencies in the southwest portion of Snohomish County. For a list of agencies that it supports go to

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Mill Creek Beacon:

Friday, May 27, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- Everett FD Warning, Scam Map

Firefighter Scam. According to My Everett News, people posing as Everett firefighters are going door to door asking for donations in the Everett area. Also, others have reported solicitations for donations to firefighters through phone calls. Neither the Everett Fire Department nor the Everett Firefighters IAFF Local 46 ask for donations door to door or via the phone.

My Everett News recommends that if someone approaches you at your door for a donation to the Everett Fire Department or to the fire fighter’s union, tell them no and report the incident to 911.

If you would like to donate to Everett firefighters, look at the following web sites:

Everett Firefighter IAFF Local 46-

My Everett News:

Scam Map. Online crime maps are an excellent way to track crime around your home. The AARP Fraud Watch Network has announced its own scam-tracking map. You can search by keyword for specific scams in your area or browse the map for recent scams reported in your area. There is also a way to report a scam that you have encountered to the scam-tracking map database.

To report scams to police or federal officials such as the Federal Trade Commission go to

To check out the scam-tracking map go to;jsessionid=F0C8EEC5BE31E6AFC9AB4FE31374BBC9.app267b?cmp=RDRCT-ADV-FRAUD-050916