Thursday, February 16, 2017

ACTIVE SHOOTER- Crime Stoppers Weighs in with Advice

An active shooter situation can happen anywhere, anytime. The motivation for an active shooter to attack can be from a break up with a girl friend or wife, workplace tension, mental illness, or a terrorist attack. No matter why, if you find yourself in an active shooter situated, you need to act fast, thoughtfully, and decisively to protect yourself from harm.

Federal agencies such as Homeland Security have posted videos and other educational materials along the lines of Run, Hide, Fight. Recently, Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound has published its own video encouraging all of us to be aware of our surroundings and what to do if we become involved in an active shooter situation. To see that video, go to:

The Department of Homeland Security also has published a pocket card that you can keep with you that you can find here:


Sunday, February 12, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Top Scams for 2016

Top Scams for 2016. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and AARP’s Fraud Watch Network have both issued lists of their top reported scams for 2016.

The BBB says that 2,100 scams were reported to them in the western states on its BBB Scam Tracker ( Among the top scams are tax collection (IRS scam), online purchase scams, sweepstakes/lottery/prizes, debt collection, government grants, phishing, employment, fake invoice, and tech support.

AARP reports its top three scams are:

·         Government Grant Scams- You see an ad or get a call from someone saying that you can get a guaranteed grant without having to pay the money back. The catch is that they want your checking account number to transfer the money to you. There is no grant and now the scammer has your checking account number. Don’t give strangers your checking account information.

·         Facebook Hacks- If you receive a friend request on Facebook from someone that you are already connected to, this is probably a scam. A scammer probably hacked into their account to claim that your friend is in need of money from you. If you think that you friend’s Facebook account has been hacked, let them know immediately. And check your privacy settings.

·         Online Romance Scams- Scammers will troll dating sites. They will strike up a conversation online and sometimes even on the phone. Sometimes they will try to get you to exchange emails or messages away from the site. Often, they will claim to be away in a foreign country. Be wary when they ask for financial help- for an emergency, needs help with bills, to fly out to see you. For more information about romance scams, go to:;jsessionid=00000000.app263b?NONCE_TOKEN=474F0706BB1BF774120BE4B459C388A8.

SCAM UPDATE- A Government Program that Pays Your Bills?

A Government Program that Pays Your Bills? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that people are approaching church goers, especially in African-American churches with claims that the government has a program to “pay your bills” with an up-front payment or processing fee. The scammers use the fact that the information about this “program” was spread at church to try to gain legitimacy.

The FTC warns that there is no government program that will pay your bills. There are legitimate government web sites that can help you if you are having trouble paying certain bills such as utilities or medical bills ( These sites will not ask you to pay them!

Federal Trade Commission:

SCAM UPDATE- "Can You Hear Me?"

“Can You Hear Me?” Scammers are calling people, introducing themselves, then ask “Can you hear me?” The natural thing to do is to answer “yes.” But when you do that, the scammer will have recorded your “yes” answer and then sign you up for services or products that you did not ask for. When you contact them to complain, they will play back your “yes” and threaten to sue you I you do not pay.

If you receive a phone call from someone that you do not know, do not answer “yes” to that question. Hang up. Remember:

            • Do not answer the phone from numbers that you do not recognize.

            • Do not give out personal information.

            • Do not confirm your number over the phone.

            • Do not answer questions from people you do not know over the phone.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

CALLING 911- How to Teach Children

How to call 911 is important for everyone to know, including your children. Sgt. Pat Lowe from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department offers some basic tips on when and how to teach your children when to call 911 in this video:

MLT News:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PHISHING SCAM- Cons Target Small Businesses Through Quickbooks Impersonation

Con artists are sending emails impersonating Intuit’s (the accounting company) software Quickbooks.  The email claims to be confirming that you changed your business name with Intuit. Of course, you did not make any change to your account profile. The email has a handy link to help you correct the mistake.

But if you click on that link, malware that can search for sensitive information will be downloaded on to your computer.

You can protect yourself from a phishing email by:

·         Checking the reply email address to be sure it is from the company that the email claims to be from.

·         Check the destination of any links to be sure that they take you to the legitimate company web site.

·         Consider how the organization normally contacts you.

·         Be cautious of generic emails.

·         Be skeptical of any unsolicited emails.

Better Business Bureau:

Federal Trade Commission:

CYBER SECURITY- Crooks Target Small Businesses Too

Over the last few years, data breaches and phishing attacks on large businesses have received publicity. However, big business is not the only target of cyber-thieves. Small businesses can be victimized also.

It isn’t so much that cyber-thieves target small businesses as they will go anywhere that they can steal ID information and/or take someone else’s money. Small businesses are vulnerable because they do not have large cyber security budgets. It can be difficult for small businesses with small budgets and small staffs to keep up with security in addition to focusing on the other aspects of their business.

If you have a small business you can take practical steps to protect yourself. Take a look at this article to learn more on how to improve your cyber security:

Small Business Trends: