Sunday, November 23, 2014

IP CAMERA SECURITY- Take Simple Steps to Prevent Others Hacking into Your Cameras

More and more of us are using cameras to view our properties over the internet (often known as IP cameras). The cameras may be used for security on the outside of our homes or businesses, or they could be used to monitor our babies, older children, or baby sitters and maids. While this gives convenience and a feeling of security of our property when we are away, without implementing some simple security measures, those cameras can give the rest of the world a window into our private lives.

Recently, CBS News aired a story about Russian hackers livestreaming video from business security cameras, home security cameras and baby monitors, (

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with recommendations that you can use to secure video being broadcast over the internet.

While shopping for a system:

  • Be sure to secure the wireless transmission between your cameras and your wireless router.
  • If you plan to access your video feed off site, look for cameras that encrypt the video feed as well as your username and password.
  • If you plan on allowing others to access your video, consider a system that allows for different levels of security.
While setting up your system:

  • Be sure that you setup the cameras’ software for regular updates from the manufacturer.
  • Use the cameras’ password feature. Change the default password provided by the manufacturer to your own strong password.
  • If your cameras encrypt the data that they transmit, be sure to use that feature.
For more information about securing your video feed, go to:



Friday, November 21, 2014

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Warrant Scam is Baaaaack

Yesterday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release that it has received four complaints from citizens about receiving warrant scam phone calls. The Sheriff’s Office reminds all of us that no Sheriff’s Office employee, or county employee for that matter, will call and request payment over the phone. Nor will a deputy call to warn that they are on their way to make an arrest.

For more information, go to:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Also, other scams that have been reported previously are still making the rounds. Recently, residents of Gold Creek have reported receiving IRS scam and Microsoft scam phone calls.

In the IRS scam, someone calls or emails, and claims that you owe money to the IRS, and demands immediate payment via a prepaid card. Hang up if you receive a call from an IRS scammer.

In the Microsoft scam, someone calls, claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, and says that they have detected a virus on your computer. They want access to your computer to “fix” the problem. DO NOT allow them access to your computer, hang up. Microsoft does not call computer users about computer viruses.



EVERETT- Missing Person

The Everett Police Department is looking for a missing person. Emma Lyons was last seen on Tuesday, November 19, in the area of North Everett. She was with an unidentified male nicknamed “TB.” She left her school with a fellow female classmate on that day at about 2:30pm in south Everett.

Emma is a 16 year old Caucasian and Native American. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weights 125lbs. She has black hair and brown eyes.  Emma needs medication that she does not have with her.

If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact the Everett Police Department through 911 or by calling (425) 257-8400. The Everett PD case number is DD14-23437. You can also email or on Twitter at #findemmalyons.


Monday, November 17, 2014

ID THIEVES- How They Take Your Identity

Knowing how ID thieves take your identity can help you to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Doug Shadel, of the Washington State AARP, asked a convicted ID thief about her tricks of the trade. He learned that car prowls are a major low tech source for identities. Often ID thieves look for easy targets that have something of interest in view. When they break into a vehicle, they look for credit cards, wallets, backpacks, or other items that they can trade or sell, often for drugs. With your wallet the ID thief will look for your cash, credit cards, or PINs. Backpacks often yield laptops with lots of account information in them.

Other methods can include fake WIFI, that as you use it, the ID thief can rummage in your hard drive to find account numbers. Also, skimmers at ATMs can collect your credit card account information as you swipe your card to get some cash. Unsecured mailboxes can yield account information from bank statements and bills that have been mailed to you.

To see a short video report of Mr. Shadel’s findings, go to:

And here are 10 ways to protect yourself from ID theft:




Monday, November 10, 2014

FRAUD WATCH- Watch Out for Veteran Scams

The Fraud Watch Network, sponsored by AARP Washington and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, has issued an alert concerning scams targeting veterans or claiming to benefit veterans.

Many are typical scams that have been reported before by law enforcement agencies, but fraudsters have added veterans as specific targets or have made claims that your donation will be used to benefit veterans. The scams can include:

Charity scams: Charity scams are often used to piggy back on disasters, sick children, police or firefighter charities. Charity scams also often claim to help veterans. Along with the holiday season, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are times of the year when more scammer calls are made in the name of service personnel.

Phishing: Scammers have sent emails that looked like they are coming from the Veterans Administration. Like Medicare, the IRS and other federal agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not use the phone or email to ask for personal or financial information. Official correspondence comes only via the U.S. mail.

Benefit Schemes: Scammers will promise cash payouts for pensions and future benefits for disabled vets. The reality is that they will pay only 30 to 40 percent of their actual worth. Scammers will also claim to be “veteran’s advocates” who promise additional VA benefits by transferring retirement assets to an “irrevocable trust.” Such trusts are really unsuitable for many older veterans. The VA does not does not charge for filing pensions or other claims, scammers do.

Job scams:  Scammers will advertise that they are looking for veterans for jobs. They will use this ruse to collect personal and financial information for ID theft.

Online scams: Be wary of classified ads offering cars or other property, placed by scammers posing as soldiers deploying overseas or as families of a military member who has died. They will seek an upfront payment for a “bargain” that never materializes.

Romance scams: Recently, I reported on romance scams, where scammers claiming to live in a foreign country, fall instantly in love with you. Scammers will also pose as active-duty or retired military looking for love.

For more information about these scams, go to:

The Fraud Watch Network:



EVERETT- Police Looking for Woman in Identity Theft Scheme

The Everett Police Department as well as other police agencies including Renton, Kent, Medina and Tacoma are looking for a woman who has been using stolen credit card numbers to purchase items at local stores and then return the items for cash or sell the items.

She has been associated with credit card numbers that were stolen during the security breaches at Target and Home Depot that have been reported in the press earlier this year. She also may have used stolen identity taken from car prowls in the Everett area.

At least three of her victims have had losses of more than $10,000.

Police believe the woman is from Southern California. She has used fake names of “Christine Myers” and Christine Montgomery.” Investigators believe that her real first name may be Christine. She also has fake Washington identification. In surveillance video of the woman she usually carries a large black purse. She also wears sunglasses often on the top of her head. In the videos, she often checks her cell phone. 

Note: Police and crime prevention officers often repeatedly remind people to remove anything from view in their cars. They do that because of thieves like this woman. ID thieves actually will use your account information to purchase items for themselves. Often, they will use your credit card number within minutes of stealing your card. So, don’t leave your purse, wallet, cell phone, computer (laptop or tablet) in view in your car!

If you know this woman’s real name, or have any other information about this woman call Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS.

For more information and to see store video of this woman go to:

Washington’s Most Wanted:                                                                                                 



Friday, November 7, 2014

EVERETT- Door-to-door sales

Earlier this week that Everett Police Department was warning people to watch out for a gang of three men and one woman who have been knocking on doors claiming to be vacuum sales contractors.

The police department believes that the group uses the supposed vacuum sales as a ruse to case homes for burglaries. There have been incidents reported by the potential burglars once on October 28 and twice on the weekend of November 1-2.

The suspects drive a maroon 1993 Ford van.

If these people knock on your door, call 911.       


The Herald: