Monday, September 28, 2015

SCAM ROUNDUP– The Latest on Scams That Can Affect You

Here is the latest on some scams going around:

IRS Scam- Last week the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office reported on its Facebook page that a county resident received a call from someone claiming to be a Sheriff’s deputy and telling the resident that the resident needed to purchase a pre-paid credit card to pay for outstanding taxes to the IRS.

The Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone that law enforcement agencies will not call you and demand payment for anything. Nor will a law enforcement officer or deputy call and tell you that they are on their way to arrest you because you have missed jury duty, or for any other reason, unless you pay an amount on a pre-paid credit card. The IRS will not call you about federal incomes taxes owed or about penalties owed to the federal government. If it thinks that you owe taxes or penalties it will contact you via “snail mail” with a letter.

While there is little that local law enforcement agencies can do about scams like this, you can report this kind of call (phone numbers that show up on your caller ID and a description of what is said is helpful) to the IRS at

BECU Scam- Earlier this month, Jesse Jones of KIRO TV reported that fraudsters have been calling people or using text messages claiming that BECU is having issues with your BECU issued credit or debit card. They will ask for your account information, or in a text message will ask you to call a number or click a link. The calls often go to non-BECU customers as well as customers of BECU. According to BECU, 20% of their customers are in the Seattle area, so scammers have a one in five chance of finding the right customer. Pretty good odds for a scammer.

The best thing to do if you get a call like this is to hang up. If you get a text claiming to be from BECU, ignore it.


WhatsApp Scam- According to the Better Business Bureau, emails claiming to be from WhatsApp are showing up in people’s inboxes. WhatsApp allows you to send text messages, video and audio via the internet with your smartphone.

The email will have a subject line that reads “Incoming Voice Message” and a timestamp. The text of the email will tell you that you have a “missed voicemail” and will have a button to click on to play a message.

DO NOT click that button! If you do, you will download malware onto your computer or mobile device.

Even though the email uses the WhatsApp colors and logo, making it look legitimate, WhatsApp does not send emails unless it is in response to a customer inquiry.

For more information about how you can protect yourself from App Scams go to:

Better Business Bureau:



Monday, September 14, 2015

LYNNWOOD– Sheriff’s Office Looking for Missing Man

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Jose Diaz who has been missing since late August of this year.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, Shari Ireton, “What really concerns detectives about this missing person’s case is that pretty much after August 28th we have no activity from him at all. Nothing on social media. He didn’t come back to work. He hasn’t been in contact with this girlfriend, so we’re looking for any help we can get.” She says, “It’s very unlike him. He doesn’t have a criminal history. He’s very connected with friends and family. He shows up to work on time, so for him to fall off the face of the earth it’s very concerning and very unusual.”

The Sheriff’s Office is also looking for Diaz’s car, a red 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse with Washington license plates AUH2654.

If you have any information about where to find Diaz call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS

Washington’s Most Wanted:


Saturday, September 12, 2015

SCAM UPDATE– Watch Out For These Scams

There seems to be scams for any part of our lives. Here are two that have received recent warnings.

Delta Finance Loans. The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) warn that consumers are receiving unsolicited phone calls from an entity calling itself Delta Finance Inc. offering loans if the targeted consumer pays an advance fee. Consumers who paid the fee did not receive the loan as promised.

The scammers claim that they can provide loans no matter the credit history of the consumer and claim that they have made loans in amounts in the tens of thousands for individuals and businesses.

ITRC believes that the scammers are purchasing information of their targets from short term lenders.

The best defense from financial scammers, such as Delta Finance Loans, is to hang up when they call you. DFI recommends that if you need a loan, that you deal only with property licensed businesses. You can verify a license at

Department of Financial Institutions:



Natural Disaster Scams. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a warning to the public about scammers taking advantage of the wildfires in eastern Washington. While the focus of its alert is the wildfires, this may be a good time to emphasize them with the recent storm that we have had in Puget Sound.

DNR reports that individuals posing as contractors have been offering help with timber harvest salvage, woodlot restoration, debris removal and other cleanup activities. It points out that some of these individuals may not be legitimate.

Some scammers may offer to clear debris. They often ask for money up front and then disappear or pick up your debris then dump it on a neighbor’s property, along a roadside or on government land. If the debris is tracked to your property, then you are responsible for any costs and penalties of clean up.

Apparently, there is no requirement for a consulting forester to be licensed by the state. DNR recommends that if you are thinking about using someone who claims to be a forester that you determine if they are legitimate. DNR recommends that you check them out with the Association of Consulting Foresters ( and/ or with the Society of American Foresters ( Both of these professional organizations have codes of ethics that focus on professionalism and the landowner’s best interest.

Charity scammers often call asking for donations to help people caught up in natural disasters taking advantage of people’s natural inclination to help others. But the scammers keep the money and none of it goes toward the stated purpose. Some ways you can steer clear of the scams include:

·         Do not respond to unsolicited email.

·         Be skeptical of individuals asking for donations via email or social networking sites.

·         Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as reputable charities, and organizations that use a .com web address instead of .org.

·         Research a charity independently on the Internet rather than click on an unsolicited link.

·         Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.

·         Be wary of anyone who seems too aggressive in asking for a donation or asks for cash, a wire transfer or check addressed to an individual rather than an organization.

You can also research charities on the Washington Secretary of State’s Information for Donor’s web page (, on the or




Thursday, September 10, 2015

BOTHELL– Door to Door Sales Scam

This afternoon the Bothell Police Department issued an alert on its blog and via Twitter to the public for a scammer who has been in the Bothell area going door to door with various scams.

Joshua Evan Smith has been reported selling magazines to raise money for a soccer team with the magazines being given to troops overseas. In other reports he was selling raffle tickets for season tickets to Seahawks games. In one incident, a homeowner told Smith that he was calling 911, Smith ran away.

Bothell PD has learned that other law enforcement agencies are looking for Smith for similar scams and that Smith sometimes targets the elderly. He also has an arrest warrant from the Wood Dale Police Department (Illinois) for a burglary charge.

Smith is a white male, 6’5” tall, 190 pounds, with blue eyes and blond hair.

If you see him, do not contact him, but call 911.

Bothell police encourages you not to allow door to door sales people into your home. Solicitors can show their products on your porch. While Smith is not wanted for burglary in the local area, given the arrest warrant from Illinois, there could be a danger that he is also casing houses for burglary at a later date.

Bothell PD:


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SILVER LAKE– Phishing Scam Received in Email

Over the weekend, there has been at least one household that has received an unsolicited email declaring a “Child Predator Alert” in the local area. If you receive this email, do not download any included pictures or click on any links contained in the email.

The email tries to shock you to click on a link for more information regarding an alleged child predator in your area. In one version of this scam, the email has two links. One link takes you to a website called “Kids Live Safe” which is a service that sells localized reports on sex offenders. The spam email has no affiliation with Kids Live Safe, a service that sells localized reports about sex offenders. The other link loads malware onto your computer. The link to Kid Live Safe obviously is there to lend credibility to the email. The malware searches for your usernames, passwords and credit card numbers that are stored on your computer.

The email sent to the Silver Lake area had an email address of “” “” has nothing to do with sex offenders. If you enter “” in your browser, it will take you to your Microsoft .hotmail or .outlook account.

To spot a phishing scam, the Better Business Bureau recommends that you:

·         Check out the “From field of the email. Look for email addresses that do not match the brand used in the email message.

·         Watch out for typos, strange phrasing and bad grammar.

·         Hover over URLs to discover their true destination.

·         If you did not sign up for an email alert, be suspicious of emails alerting you of anything.

 If you receive this or any other phishing scam email report it to the Federal Trade Commission at

You can find out about registered sex offenders in your area at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office web site at:

Better Business Bureau:




Monday, September 7, 2015

SNOCAT– Distributing The Club Update

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has issued the latest list of most stolen vehicles for 2014. The top ten vehicles are:

1. Honda Accord (51,290)
2. Honda Civic (43,936)
3. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (28,680)
4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (23,196)
5. Toyota Camry (14,605)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,075)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,483)
8. Nissan Altima (9,109)
9. Acura Integra (6,902)
10. Nissan Maxima (6,586)

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force (SNOCAT) is distributing The Club an anti-car theft device that you can attach to your steering wheel. SNOCAT and Sheriff’s Office are focusing their efforts on early model vehicles such 1990’s era Honda Accords and Civics.

If you would like one of The Club’s, contact Sgt. Ian Huri of the Office of Neighborhoods at

National Insurance Crime Bureau:

Previous SSNOCO Crime Watch post:



If you have questions:

      ·         On Twitter @SnoCoAutoTheft
      ·         Call (360) 657-1513



Monday, August 31, 2015


On Thursday, August 27th, the Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) activated the Silver Alert message system.

Silver Alerts are for endangered missing people who are 60 years old or older. Often older people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can get lost. Time is an important factor in finding dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. According to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office an estimated 59% of Alzheimer’s patients will wander away and become lost. If an elderly Alzheimer’s patient is outside for more than 24 hours, their chance of survival drops down to 50% due to the risk of exposure.

Silver Alerts operate in a similar way as AMBER Alerts. DOT will display information on its electronic highway signs when there is vehicle information included from the State Patrol. DOT may also broadcast this information on its highway advisory radio messages and its 511 system. One difference between Silver Alerts and AMBER Alerts is that Silver Alerts will not send messages to cell phone alarms. If you see this message, please look out for the vehicle and if you see it call 911 when it is safe for you to make the call.

Washington also has an Endangered Missing Person alerts for people younger than 60 who could be in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office sponsors Project Care Track which is a proactive program to find people with Down Syndrome, Autism, Prader-Willi, dementia, Alzheimers or traumatic brain injury.

Project Care Track clients are provided an electronic bracelet that emits a unique radio signal around the clock. If a client wanders away, the caregiver calls 911. This call triggers a rapid response from a trained team from the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue unit. The unit has a receiver that can detect the radio signal from the bracelet. Using Project Care Track bracelets has reduced the time to find lost patients dramatically.

If you have a loved one who you think would benefit from Project Care Track, Contact the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office at (425) 388-3525.

Washington State Department of Transportation:

The Herald:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office: