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Sunday, February 11, 2018

SNOHOMISH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Project Care Track Can Help Find Your Elderly Loved One


From time to time you might see announcement in the news and social media for information on a missing elderly person.

People with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Down Syndrome, Autism, and Prader-Willi may wander. Traditionally, when a care giver discovers a missing loved one or patient, they call 911 and the Sheriff’s Office mounts a search and rescue effort to find the patient.

A lost patient is a major medical emergency. The patient may have difficulty with reasoning, judgement, and communication. Searchers heavily rely on a lost patient’s ability to answer when they hear their name. if the patient cannot answer, or chooses not to answer, the search effort becomes more difficult and time consuming.

If an elderly Alzheimer's patient is left outside for more than 24 hours, their chance of survival drops to 50% due to the risk of exposure. Over the years, Snohomish County has had several tragic incidents of Alzheimer’s patients passing away before they could be found.

In 2001 the Sheriff’s Office launched Project Care Track after a search for an Alzheimer’s patient in South Snohomish County failed to find them before they died.

With Project Care Track, the patient has a safety net that can find them quickly if they wander away from home or where they normally reside

With Project Care Track, the patient has a safety net that can find them quickly if they wander away from home or where they normally reside.

Under Project Care Track, a client is given a one-ounce electronic bracelet that they wear on their wrist. The bracelet emits a unique radio signal that searchers can use to find the client.

The Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Search and Rescue Unit, has radio receiver’s that can receive the signal from the bracelet.  Recovery times have been reduced from several hours/days to often less than an hour. And fatalities have been reduced by 90%.

If you have a family member or a friend that you think would benefit from Project Care Track, contact the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office at:

Information Line: (425) 388-3825

  

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

SCAM UPDATE- Social Security Scam, Finding the Right Tax Preparer, Signs of a Phishing Email


Scammers Impersonate the Social Security Administration. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning about scammers posing as being from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The scammer will call you saying that there has been a computer problem at the Social Security Administration and they need to confirm your Social Security number. The FTC has also received reports of spoofed websites that look like they are where you can apply for a new Social Security card. In reality, the sites are setup to steal your personal information.

The FTC warns that if you receive an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to be from the SSA or are directed to a website that is not www.ssa.gov, by an email claiming to be from the SSA, hang up or do not click on the link. Remember,



·         Don’t give your personal information to someone who calls you and asks for or demands it.

·         Be wary of phone numbers that show up on your caller ID. Scammers have technology that can “spoof” the IRS, SSA, or other governmental or business organizations.

·         If you are unexpectedly contacted by someone claiming to be from the SSA, call the Social Security Administration directly at 1-800-772-1213 and verify that the caller is legitimate.

Federal Trade Commission:




Finding the Right Tax Preparer. The safety of your personal information should be important to anyone that you use to help you prepare your income tax return. This YouTube video from the Better Business Bureau has some tips to help you find a tax preparer who will protect your personal information and avoid becoming a victim of a tax scam.

Better Business Bureau:




Signs of Phishing. Scammers use “phishing” emails to try to trick you into giving them your personal information. The emails will look like they are from legitimate businesses or governmental agencies. But there are signs that you can use to determine if the email is legitimate, including a bad return email address, bad spelling and/or grammar, a generic greeting, and instructions to click on a link. Check out this video from KOMO TV for details on the tell-tale signs.

KOMO TV:





Friday, February 9, 2018

OPIOIDS- Getting the Right Help


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have jointly issued a warning about “miracle cures” or other treatments that promise fast results.

In a joint statement, they point out:



·         Dietary supplements have not been scientifically proven to ease withdrawal or treat opioid dependence.

·         Products such as Kratom are not proven treatments and can be addictive and dangerous.

There are no short cuts to addressing opioid dependence and withdrawal.

If you, a loved one or a friend need help with treating opioid dependence, go to this link for local treatment resources,

Snohomish Overdose Prevention:




A national resource that can help is sponsored by SAMHSA,

SAMHSA:

SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA confidential treatment locator: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/



FTC:




           






Tuesday, February 6, 2018

ID THEFT- Tax ID Theft Remains a Problem


With the income tax season upon us, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are warning citizens about the dangers of Tax ID Theft.

Tax ID Theft occurs when an ID thief files a tax return with the IRS in someone else’s name to receive a tax refund. The ID thief will have enough information, such as Social Security Numbers, addresses, etc., to impersonate someone else on IRS tax forms. Often ID thieves file early to get their fake returns into the IRS before the person that they are impersonating. The ID thief gets a refund, and the victim gets a notice from the IRS that his/her taxes have already been filed.

The key for the ID thief is to have enough information to file a credible tax return in someone else’s name. ID thieves can collect information on other people from physical theft or online.

Physical sources can be through lost or stolen wallets, Medicare cards or smartphones. The ID thief can steal an ID in a home burglary or car prowl. Your information could be stolen by family, friends, visitors or advisors. The ID thief can go dumpster diving outside your accountant’s office or other business that keeps your personal information and does not shred sensitive documents before throwing them out. Lots of good personal information can be obtained through mail theft.

Other methods include imposter scams, such as pretending to be an IRS agent, and “verifying” your Social Security Number and other personal information. The ID thief could also have contacts inside financial institutions who can feed him/her with personal information on clients. The ID thief could also set up a corrupt a tax preparation service that also steals your personal information.

Online sources of personal information include purchasing information from data breaches. Phishing or spear phishing can yield personal information. Phishing is where an imposter sends an email that has attachments or links that either installs malware or sends the person receiving the email to a web site that collects personal information. ID thieves can use middle man attacks on surrounding computers at insecure Wi-Fi hotspots or on peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

There are warning signs of a possible tax ID theft. If your Social Security Number is stolen or compromised is one. Another, is an unusual delay in getting an expected refund from the IRS. The clincher is a notification from the IRS of a duplicate tax return, unreported income or duplicate dependents.

You can minimize your risk to become a victim of tax ID theft. Your personal information is part of you. It is valuable no matter who you are or how much you make. ID thieves don’t care if you are rich or poor, have good credit or bad credit. Not taking action can harm you.



·         Shred documents with account numbers and other personal information with a cross cut shredder.

·         Use strong passwords on your accounts and strong privacy settings.

·         Read your credit reports annually.

·         Empty your purse or wallet. Only take what you need for that day. Do not keep your Social Security card in your wallet. Keep it in your safe or your bank’s safety deposit box.

·         Know your tax preparer. Ask them how they secure your personal information.

·         File your income tax return early, before the crooks file.

·         When you file,

o   If mailing, take the return to the post office, not your mailbox.

o   If filing electronically, use a secure network.

o   Store your copy of your returns securely and shred drafts.

·         Be careful of what you share. If a business asks for personal information, ask why they need the information. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, your bank, or other financial institution, wanting to “verify” your personal information, hang up. Be careful of emails claiming to be businesses that want you to open an attachment or click on a link.



If you are victimized by a tax ID theft scheme, report it to www.identitytheft.gov. This site will help you report the incident to the FTC and the IRS. It will also help you develop a recovery plan. Also, report it to the Identity Theft Resource Center, https://www.idtheftcenter.org/.



IRS:




AARP Fraud Watch Network on IRS Imposter Scams:





Monday, February 5, 2018

NEW SCAM- Phone Number Port Out Scam


A new scam has emerged that thieves have been using to steal money from consumers. Called the Port Out Scam, it steals your phone number, transfers it to a different cell phone service provider, then uses it to take money from your bank accounts or make purchases using your bank or credit card accounts.

In this scam, the scammer takes advantage of your ability to change phone carriers and keep your old phone number, called porting in the industry. The reason scammers want to do the porting is to get around two factor authentication. Security experts have been encouraging the public to use two factor authentication to safe guard online transactions. Two factor authentication works like this; you log into your account, then the company/financial institution sends a text message to your smart phone with a one-time code. You enter that code into the login form online. That way, the company knows that you are you.

The scammers obtain your phone number and may have collected other personal information (such as your grandparents name, or other information that may be used by companies to verify your identity) that they can use to verify themselves as you. They contact your cell phone company and change your password and possibility other verifying information. They then move your phone number to another cell phone provider. If they have your bank account information, this gives them the ability to tap them, even if they have two factor authentication.

So far, this is a little-known problem. However, KIRO TV news has found one victim in Everett and reports that the Redmond Police Department is investigating 7 port out cases. Port out scams have been reported in other parts of the U.S and even in Australia.

In the Everett case, the thieves took the T-mobile phone number of the victim. And T-mobile has issued a text alert to some of its customers about the scam. While T-mobile has received the publicity, this could happen to any cell phone carrier.

To prevent port out scamming, security experts recommend adding a PIN to your cell phone account. Ask your cell phone provider about this option.



KIRO TV:




Check the end of this blog posting for links on security for the four major cell phone providers-

New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communication Integration Cell:




TmoNews:




news.com.au:




Scam Detector:







Wednesday, January 31, 2018

SNOHOMISH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Crime Prevention Newsletter- Gangs


The latest issue of “Partners in Crime Prevention” covers gangs in Snohomish County including recent activity, why kids join gangs and how to keep your kids out of gangs.

See the newsletter here,



Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SCAM ALERT- Scammers Soliciting Contributions in the Name of the Sheriff’s Office


The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert warning of scammers calling county citizens asking for money for the Sheriff’s Office.

According to a Sheriff’s Office tweet tonight:

"The Fundraising Center” is soliciting funds to support the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. We do not have a non-profit organization and our agency will never solicit funds to "help keep the agency afloat" (as one scammer said).

Also, there is a warrant scam going around in the name of the Sheriff’s office. According to a posting on Facebook:

“A "Capt. Miller" is calling to bully victims into paying to have a warrant "lifted" for missing jury duty. While we do have a Capt. Miller in our employ, neither he nor any other bona fide law enforcement or court personnel will call you to demand money over the phone. Ever. You can check to see if you have outstanding warrants online.”

If you receive a call from someone asking for money or demanding money for the Sheriff’s Office, hang up.