Friday, February 27, 2015

SCAMS– The Science of Scammers

Scammers are always trying to find new ways to hook potential victims. But, with all of the reporting recently about scams, you probably have noticed some constants in how scammers operate. The Better Business Bureau has recently published three clues that you can look for if you encounter a scam that does not seem to use the same tactics that we have been talking about lately.

The techniques that scammers use are similar to legitimate marketing techniques, only with a scam you are out your money without a product or service.

Establish a Connection. A scammer will want to develop a trusting relationship so that you will feel confident to do what he wants. He might research your profile on social media, or ask questions that allow him to try to give you a sense that you both have common interests. This can occur online, on a telephone cold call or he may take his time in a person to person social setting to groom you as a target. The scammer may also use a tool called reciprocity. He will do something for you to make you feel good about him and to make you feel that you should do something for him.

Source Credibility. Scammers want to appear credible to their targets. They will make it look like that they are from legitimate businesses with fake websites, business cards or phone numbers. They may also use a tone of voice and jargon that makes it appear that they are legitimate.

Play on your Emotions. Like a good salesman, scammers will want to develop of sense of urgency to get you to decide quickly. The quicker you say yes, the less time that you have to think about and research his proposal. This can be done by telling you that his offer is available for a limited time, or there is a limited supply that is going fast. Also, claiming that there is an emergency that needs to be resolved quickly tries gets you to act without thinking.

One scam that uses these techniques is the “Affinity Fraud.” This is where a scammer/fraudster may use social relationships such as in their retirement community, church, or social group to recruit people to invest in a supposedly “hot” investment. Frequently, these are simple Ponzi schemes when the fraudster uses the money from early “investors” to pay off later “investors.”

The fraudster will take the time to develop a friendship with his targets. He will use different methods over time to play up his so called credibly. And at some point, he might play on your emotions to act before his opportunity goes away.

A classic fraudster who used Affinity Fraud was Bernie Madoff.

You can avoid Affinity Fraud by:

  • Not relying solely on recommendations by friends, club members or associates. Check out the investment from independent sources.
  • Finding out if the investment or product being sold is registered by using the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck website (
  • Know where your money is being invested and who is investing it.
  • Getting everything in writing and check to be sure that your money is actually where it is supposed to be.
  • Being careful if the person is trying to pressure you into quick decisions. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
If you think that you have been scammed, file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions ( Since Affinity Fraud is often found among tight-knit groups, you may be motivated to try to work things out privately with the scammer. Report the fraud. There are probably other victims to the fraud, and the fraudster will continue to victimize other people.

We usually don’t think that we will become victims of fraud. But no matter how sophisticated our knowledge of financial investments might be, it is still important to be on the lookout for fraud no matter how much we trust our source or our skills.

The Better Business Bureau:


AARP Fraud Watch Network:



Thursday, February 26, 2015

EDMONDS– Attempted Abduction of Teenage Girl

Around 6:50am this morning, a teenage girl, walking to Edmonds-Woodway High School, was approached by a man who asked her to gin into his car. She said no and ran away.

The man is described as white, in his 20’s, wore glasses and a dark jacket. He drove a gray or black sedan with tinted windows, possibly a Honda or Audi.

While stranger abductions of children are rare, they are concerning and receive a lot of publicity. If your children walk to school, talk to them about being alert to their surroundings; if they can, walk in a group; and if approached by someone who makes them uncomfortable, run away and yell.


The Herald:


Thursday, February 19, 2015

SNOHOMISH COUNTY– Thefts Are Up In Residential Areas

Lt. Robert Palmer, South Precinct Commander for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office recently took a KIRO TV reporter on a ride-a-long in residential areas to show how thieves can easily steal low value items that are left outside of homes and in open garages.

The Sheriff’s Office has received an increase in reports of thefts in recent months. Lt. Palmer attributed the increase to the rise in heroin usage. Over the past few years, heroin has become the drug of choice locally (as well as nationally). Heroin is cheaper than many other drugs such as prescription drugs (oxycodone) and is also readily available.

Heroin addicts can pick up some relatively inexpensive items in a sweep of a neighborhood. According to Lt. Palmer, “They really only need to come up with $25 worth of property today, and then tomorrow, they’ll go out and get $25 to $50 worth of property and get their drugs because it’s so cheap.”

During the ride-a-long, which aired tonight on KIRO-TV, Lt Palmer pointed out equipment left in the front yards of homes and a garage, with the door open, full of possessions ready for the taking. Also, a resident talked about the theft of his small outboard motor. Outboards are easy for one person to take. Now, he locks his outboard motor to his boat.

Key items that thieves look for include:

  • Yard equipment such as weed eaters and power tools.
  • Propane tanks left with gas grills.
  • Valuables in unlocked cars including electronics, wallets or garage door openers.
All of these thefts are a result of easy opportunities for thieves. The best way to reduce the thefts is to take away the opportunities. You can:

  • Keep your yard around your home clean and uncluttered. Pick up tools and equipment when you are finished with projects for the day. Store your children’s bicycles and toys in your house or closed garage.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed so that your house is easily seen from the street.
  • Lock your garage door even while you are home and even when you are working in the yard. A thief can take something out of your garage without you knowing it, especially if you are working in your back yard.
  • When you park your car in your driveway or in front of your house, do not store anything in view through the windows. If a thief can see it, he will take it.
  • Be on the lookout for any suspicious person or activity. If you see anything suspicious, report it right away to 911. Many burglaries and thefts in residential areas occur during the day when few people are at home. Encourage your neighbors who are retired or work from home to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Note: On February 18, I posted that the North County Property Crime Unit was looking for Joseph Nasby and Sarah Dreben. The Sheriff’s Office reports that both have been apprehended. The Property Crime Unit alleges that they would look for homes with open garages, sheds, and out buildings to steal chainsaws, weed trimmers, leaf blowers and weapons.

Take a look at the video of the report, it shows good examples of property at risk.







Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MARYSVILLE– Property Crimes Unit Seeks Chainsaw Thieves

Joseph Nasby 25-years-old
A few days ago I posted an item about a chainsaw chop shop in the Marysville area (

Now, detectives of the North County Property Crime Unit are looking for two suspects who they believe have been stealing chainsaws and other gas-powered equipment.

The detectives recovered stolen chainsaws from a Marysville residence and learned that they were sold to the homeowner by Joseph Nasby, 25-years-old and Sarah Dreben, 37-years-old. Detectives believe that the two look for homes with open garages, sheds, and out buildings then steal weed trimmers, leaf blowers and weapons, in addition to chainsaws.

Sarah Dreben 37-years-old
If you know where detectives can find these suspects, call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at (425) 388-3845 or leave an anonymous tip online at

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:






Tuesday, February 17, 2015

METH– The Physical Toll

You may have seen pictures of people on methamphetamine showing how they prematurely age over long periods of use. The Italian Institute of Technology and University of California at Irvine have conducted a study to determine exactly what is going on.

Meth develops a feeling of euphoria and increased energy along with reduced appetite according to meth users. According to Medical Daily, ( meth has been linked to diseases of aging, such as coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and pulmonary fibrosis (scar tissue in the lungs).

The study shows that meth creates abnormalities in the fat metabolism of cells, triggering an increase in a type of molecule that promotes cell death.

For a more detailed, and probably more scientifically accurate, explanation go to:

Medical Daily:


If you know someone who is on meth, you can go to the Snohomish County Human Services web page for referrals.

Snohomish County Human Services:

Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force:


Monday, February 16, 2015

GLACIER PEAK HIGH SCHOOL– Baseball Dugouts Vandalized

Over the weekend, vandals torched the benches, equipment and dugouts of the softball field at Glacier Peak High School on Cathcart Way in south Snohomish County. A few weeks ago, vandals spray painted the dugouts yellow and red and dug up the pitcher’s mound.

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating and is offering a $10,000 for information about this arson. If you have any information about this incident, call 911 or, 1-800-55-ARSON.

The Glacier Peak HS Fast Pitch Softball Facebook page shows pictures of the damage:







BOTHELL- Hindu Temple and Junior High School Vandalized

Leaders of the Hindu Temple in Bothell discovered graffiti on the side of the building on Sunday morning.

The graffiti consisting of a swastika and the words “Get Out” has been removed.

At Skyview Junior High School, a block away from the temple, vandals tagged one wall of the building with a swastika and the words, “Muslims Get Out.”

According to Q13 news, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Hindu temple vandalism and the Bothell Police Department is investigating the school vandalism.



If you have any information about who did this vandalism, call 911 or The Sheriff’s Tip Line at (425) 388-3845.