Wednesday, October 26, 2016

GUNS- Should I Buy a Gun for Protection?

You may look around and think that there is just too much crime around us. And you might think that you want to get a gun to protect yourself. Here are some things to think about if you are considering purchasing a gun for protection:


Monday, October 24, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- IRS Scam, Referendum Scam, Credit Repair Scams

IRS Scam in the mail. Earlier this month I talked about an IRS scam that sent emails purportedly from the IRS. The email claimed to be a CP2000 notice and claimed that the person receiving it owed taxes under the Affordable Care Act (  The AARP Fraud Watch Network says that this bogus notice is now being sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Up to now, IRS scammers have not used the mail to extract money from victims. The IRS still exclusively uses the U.S. mail for initial contacts with taxpayers. With this scam now in the mails, if you receive a notice from the IRS, take some extra time to examine it. Some tip offs that this notice is not genuine are:

·       In the case of a CP2000 notice, the IRS would not claim that you owe a specific amount. It would give you a phone number to call to resolve a discrepancy that it has found in income or payment information that has been reported by your employer and information that you reported on your tax return.

·       When you pay your federal income tax or late penalties or fees, you pay the US Treasury, not the IRS.

·      The IRS does not have you send mail to a post office box, they have you send mail directly to an IRS address.

AARP Fraud Watch Network:

Results of Arrests of Mumbai, India Scammers. Earlier this month, the mass arrest of IRS scammers in Mumbai, India made the news. The scammers, from call centers, would call victims threatening financial penalties, lawsuits and arrests if they did not pay back taxes right away. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that it has seen a dramatic reduction in reports from consumers of this IRS scam. It says that in a typical week, its BBB Scam Tracker receives about 200 reports of the scam. Since the mass arrests in India, it has only received 11 reports of the IRS scam in the past week. That is almost a 95% decrease.


Fake “Referendum” Scam. According to the Better Business Bureau, a letter to senior citizens is going around the country claiming that Congress is trying to end Social Security and the organization that sent the letter needs a donation from you, by check or credit card, to fight for Social Security. The organization says that it is sending a referendum nationwide to keep Social Security.

·       This notice is an attempt to scare you into action. To put you under the “either” as a scammer would put it. And seniors are an especially vulnerable target because many rely on their Social Security payments for their daily living needs.

·        The request for a check or your credit card information opens you to identity theft.

·        The letter talks about a referendum campaign in “counties across America.” This is nonsensical language because we do not conduct national referenda. Referenda are conducted at the local and state level for local and state issues.


Credit Report Scams. If you need help with sorting out your debt, you may look for help from a credit repair company. However, many credit repair companies use confusing or misleading advertising to bring in customers.

Here are some red flags to steer clear of:

·         Companies that demand payment up front.

·         Deals that sound too good to be true.

·         Companies with representatives who cannot answer questions.

·         Companies that hold back or provide misinformation.

·         Companies that ask you to misrepresent information.

For more information, go to,

Consumer Financial Protect Bureau:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE- National Drug Take Back Day, Saturday

Disposing of un-needed or unused prescription drugs is important to reducing drug overdoses and drug addiction. Saturday is a National Prescription Take Bake Day. Between 10:00am and 2:00pm you can take your un-needed, expired or unused prescription drugs to:

Mountlake Terrace Police Department
5906 232nd St SW
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

For more information about National Drug Take Back Day and disposing of prescription drugs in general go to:

If you cannot make it to Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, you can take unused prescriptions to several other locations in Snohomish County. For more information, go to:

Snohomish Health District:

MILL CREEK- Master Postal Keys Stolen

The Mill Creek Police Department has announced that on Tuesday, October 18, a set of master keys was stolen from a mail carrier. The keys were for mailboxes in the 98012 and 98021 zip codes. The police department received reports of stolen mail from community mailboxes in neighborhoods and apartment complexes in the City on Wednesday.

As of Thursday morning, the perpetrators are still at large. The police department says that it is working with other local police agencies to identify and find the suspects.

The Mill Creek Police Department asks for your help until they can apprehend the suspect(s) by being extra vigilant about mail delivery and pick:

·         Take your outgoing mail to the post office or put it in a secure, non-communal mailbox.

·         Pick up your mail as soon as possible, and definitely before nighttime.

·         Be aware of anyone around blue drop boxes or community mailboxes that do not appear to be postal employees or customers.

·         Call 911 if you see any activity that you think is suspicious or inappropriate.

The police department reminds everyone that only postal employees are authorized to have access to the inside of the blue drop boxes or the community mailboxes.

Mill Creek Police Department:

OCTOBER- Cyber Security Awareness Month

Recently, I wrote about October being Domestic Violence Awareness month ( October is also Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Cyber (computer) security is important for you as an individual as much as it is important for our nation, big business, small business, or for local government. Poor cyber security makes all of us susceptible to identity theft, scams, fraud as well as industrial espionage, espionage against our government or other mischief.

The effects on victims of identity theft, are revealed in the latest survey, “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2016™” published by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC):

·         55% of ID theft victims reported missing time from work, 44% reported losing out on an employment opportunity, and 29% reported that they had to request government help in the form of welfare, EBT, food stamps, etc.

·         New account fraud, including opening new credit cards, utility accounts and cellular phone service, was reported by 60% of survey respondents, up by 6% from last year.

·         Survey respondents reported that victimization manifest itself through stress (74%) and anxiety (60%)

The National Cyber Security Alliance ( has been making the public aware of what they can do to protect their computers through its Stop Think Connect campaign. It recommends:

·         Keep a Clean Machine

o   Keep your security software current to defend against viruses, malware and other online threats.

o   Automate software updates by turning on automatic updates in the settings of your software and operating systems. Then you do not have to keep remembering to update your system.

o   Protect all devices that connect to the internet. This includes computers, smart phones, gaming systems, etc.

o   When you plug in USB’s or other external devices into your computer, scan them for viruses and malware.

·         Protect your personal information

o   Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Look for techniques such as two factor authentication.

o   Make passwords long and strong by combining capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.

o   Use a different password for each of your accounts.

o   Write it down and keep it safe. Keep a list of your passwords on paper, in a safe or other, secure place or in an electronic, encrypted vault.

o    Set the privacy settings of websites and services so that you limit who can see your information.

·         Connect with care

o   Be careful of links and attachments in your email, tweets, posts and websites. Be sure you know who originated the email, etc. before clicking on any link. Links are a primary way that cybercriminals use to deliver malware to compromise your computer.

o   When using Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the internet, limit your use to non-sensitive activities. Do not connect to your financial institution’s web site or conduct online shopping through a Wi-Fi hotspot.

o   Protect your accounts. When connecting to a financial institution or a shopping website, be sure the website is encrypted with a web address that starts with https://.

Stay Safe Online:

Identity Theft Resource Center:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SNOHOMISH- Car Prowlers Stealing at Weddings

Car prowlers look everywhere for cars with purses, wallets, tablet computers. And according to recent press reports, even weddings.

The press reports have been talking about a series of car prowls at wedding venues in the Snohomish area. In at least one of the car prowls, the thieves use stolen credit cards at a Fred Meyer, Walmart and Safeway later that night.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman has noted that they see more car break-ins when car prowlers think a driver will be away from their vehicle for a long period of time, such as at a mall, in a residential driveway overnight, or at an event such as a wedding or even a funeral. Burglars have also been known to break into homes when they know that the owners are at a funeral.

The spokesman reminded everyone to lock doors and roll up and lock windows. Also not to have anything showing in your vehicle when you park it. You can also help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to a car prowl or burglary by being careful of what you post on social media, such as when you would be attending a wedding, funeral, or going on vacation.

Here are two pictures of a vehicle and two males associated with the stolen credit cards, courtesy of KING-TV. If you know who these suspects are or have any information about car prowls in the Snohomish area, please call the Snohomish Sheriff’s Office’s Anonymous Tip Line at (425) 388-3845.


The Herald:


Sunday, October 16, 2016

TECH SUPPORT SCAM- Scammers Still Calling Snohomish County Residents

I have received a report of at least one more Snohomish County resident receiving a call from a tech scammer.

The call was made by a man with a slight Indian accent who said that he was calling from Redmond. He claimed that the person answering the phone had submitted an error report from their computer. He said that he needed some information or else they would lose their computer. He wanted the potential victim to get onto their computer and follow his instructions.

When asked who he worked for, the man hedged. He said that he did not work for Microsoft, but that his company did.

The person answering the phone quickly concluded this was a scam and hung up.

The potential victim observed:

1.      The caller ID on their phone said “unknown name, unknown number.” A legitimate company would have displayed their true phone number.

2.      They had not submitted an error report. And, Microsoft, of they had contacted them, would not have to ask for their system information. Microsoft already collects technical information about the computers that runs its Windows operating system. You can cut off that information if you do not want Microsoft to get it.

3.      Microsoft would not call. If there is any response, it would be via email.

If you receive a call from a tech support scammer, you can report them to:


Federal Trade Commission: