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:
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 (http://ssnoccrimewatch.blogspot.com/2016/10/irs-scam-from-telephone-to-email.html).
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.
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
·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
·Companies that demand payment up front.
·Deals that sound too good to be true.
·Companies with representatives who cannot answer
·Companies that hold back or provide misinformation.
·Companies that ask you to misrepresent information.
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:
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
·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.
Recently, I wrote about October
being Domestic Violence Awareness month (http://ssnoccrimewatch.blogspot.com/2016/10/domestic-violence-october-is-domestic.html). October is also Cyber Security
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
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
oKeep your security software current to defend
against viruses, malware and other online threats.
oAutomate 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.
oProtect all devices that connect to the
internet. This includes computers, smart phones, gaming systems, etc.
oWhen you plug in USB’s or other external devices
into your computer, scan them for viruses and malware.
·Protect your personal information
oSecure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond
passwords. Look for techniques such as two factor authentication.
oMake passwords long and strong by combining
capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.
oUse a different password for each of your
oWrite 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,
privacy settings of websites and services so that you limit who can see your
·Connect with care
oBe 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.
oWhen 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
oProtect 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://.
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
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.
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
When asked who he worked for, the
man hedged. He said that he did not work for Microsoft, but that his company
The person answering the phone
quickly concluded this was a scam and hung up.
The potential victim observed:
caller ID on their phone said “unknown name, unknown number.” A legitimate company
would have displayed their true phone number.
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
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: