Saturday, December 20, 2014

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Antidote for Opiate Drug Overdose

There is now an antidote that is available to the public for overdoses of opiate drugs. Four area pharmacies offer a kit with naloxone, also called Narcan.

Narcan can be used to block the effects of pain killers such as oxycodone, Vicodin, codeine and heroin in the case of an overdose. In 2013, 86 people died from opioid drug overdoses in Snohomish County. 440 cases of opiate poisonings were treated last year by Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

If you have a relative or friend who abuses drugs, having a kit available may save their life. The kits are available at the following pharmacies:

Providence Pharmacy
9200 N. Kelsey St., Monroe
(360) 794-5555

QFC Pharmacy
27008 92nd Ave NW, Stanwood
(360) 629-0662

Haggen Pharmacy
3711 88th St. NE, Marysville
(360) 530-7761

Bellegrove Pharmacy
18800 142nd Ave. NE, Woodinville
(425) 455-2123

For more information go to:

The Herald:

Medline Plus:







Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Postings in social media report at least one household experienced the theft of several packages that had been delivered by UPS this morning in The Falls/Gold Creek area. There no doubt have been other thefts in the area since package thieves like to follow UPS, FEDEX, and Postal Service delivery vehicles on their routes.

I have reported on ideas for preventing package theft in the past. One other idea would be to request the delivery company to place the package(s) somewhere where it cannot be seen such as your back porch.

For other ideas go to:



Monday, December 15, 2014

LYNNWOOD- Identity Thief Raises Havoc for Victim

The Lynnwood Police Department is looking for an identity thief who has opened credit card accounts at several stores in the area using the stolen identity of a Lynnwood man.

The victim does not know how the suspect received his personal information. However, the victim estimates that he has losses of around $25,000.

Lynnwood Police do not know the name of the suspect, but they have released video of a man who they determined has been using the victim’s personal information. The suspect has a noticeable tattoo on his left arm. To see the video go to this link:


If you know who this person is, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS

If you discover that someone is using your name and your personal information report it to 911. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at:

This picture from store video shows the suspect:

The suspect has been associated with this SUV:


HOLIDAY DRINKING- DUI Apps Help You Determine if You are Too Drunk to Drive

The holiday season is the time of year that local police agencies conduct DUI emphasis patrols and publish public service announcements urging all of us to not drink and drive, go to parties and bars with a designated drivers or take a taxi home.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been funding development work on cell phone apps that warn you when you might have had too much alcohol to drive.

One app, developed by the state of Maryland with NHTSA money, is called ENDUI. It has you play games that test your reaction. One game has you press a red “brake” when a picture of a pedestrian shows on the screen or a vehicle in front of you (on the screen) stops. Another game shows road signs in blinking in different order; you have to recall the order.

ENDUI also has a function that takes your weight, height and sex to estimate you BAC (a measure of how much alcohol is in your body) after a certain number of drinks.

ENDUI can be found for iPhone and Android phones.

There are several other DUI apps that you can find for iPhone, Android and Windows phones.

An app like this may not be for everyone, but, it might be a fun way to increase your awareness while you are enjoying yourself at a party or with your friends when you are out on the town.




Saturday, December 13, 2014

HOLIDAY SCAMS- More Scams to Watch Out For

With Christmas closing in and the shopping for those last minute gifts becoming more intense, AARP and Washington State Attorney General’s Office’s Fraud Watch Network has published more scams and frauds to be on the lookout for.

Go to the following links for detailed information:

KING TV- Interview with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson-


Fraud Watch Network-


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

BOTHELL- Luring Incident

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is looking for help from the public for information about a suspect in a luring incident that occurred in the vicinity of 196th St SE and 24th Dr. SE north of Bothell.

According to a Sheriff’s Office press release, a 12 year old female reported that she was walking home around 3pm from her bus stop when a man jumped out of a parked pick-up truck, grabbed her and yelled, “Boo!” The man noticed three other students in the area, returned to his truck, and left the area.

The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-40’s, 5 foot 11 inches tall, gray medium length hair and a gray beard. He was driving a tan colored standard cab pickup truck.

If you have any information about this incident, call 911.


Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office-



Monday, December 8, 2014

ONLINE SECURITY- Phishing and Ransomware

Here are two alerts about dangers to your computer:

Phishing- Emails have been going out posing as “Order Confirmations” that can download software that will take your email information, passwords, and then make your computer into a botnet slave.

Since Thanksgiving, emails have been going out asking you to confirm a supposed order that the email claims you have made. In order to confirm your order, the email asks you to click on a link. Do not click that link! The email may have an embedded link or it may have an infected attached file.

The emails may claim to be from major retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Target, or Costco.

If you click on the link, a piece of software called the Asprox spam botnet will copy email credentials and passwords. Then, your computer will send junk email and spam to the email addresses in your address book.

Order confirmation scams come hot and heavy during the holiday shopping season in an attempt to catch computer users off guard. With the pressure to have gifts arrive before Christmas, during the shopping season, scammers hope you will not pay attention and click on that link. If you receive one of these emails slow down and look closely at the email.

Look for an order number, or other information that can be used to look up an order. If you think the email is legitimate, don’t click on the link. Open the company’s web site in your browser and look up your order information.

Also, any emails that you receive that are spam, add them to your junk mail folder in your email application such as Outlook.

This spam has been seen nationwide, although I have not seen any reports of it showing up locally as yet. If you receive this email please let me know.

Krebs on Security:


Ransomware- A virus that has been seen locally is the Crpytolocker Virus that is a form of “ransomware.” The virus encrypts all of your files on your hard drive so that you cannot access them. The solution is to contact the perpetrator of the virus and pay him to decrypt your files. This can cost as much as $1,000 with no guarantee that you will get access to your files back.

Apparently, this virus spreads across networks and externally attached devices. To protect yourself:

  • Be sure that your Antivirus and Anti-Malware software is updated regularly and running.
  • Make regular backups of your files.
  • Be sure that if you use external devices that they can be unplugged.
  • Back up your files to a cloud server.
  • Don’t open email attachments or links from sources that you do not know.

 Thanks to Computer Concepts in Bothell for the tip-




The Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force has warned that Snohomish County schools are seeing an increase in Dextromethorphan (DXM) abuse. DXM is found in over the counter cough and cold medicines. In prescribed doses DXM is safe. However, in higher doses, DXM can produce euphoria and dissociative effects (you feel like you are detached from your body). Abuse can cause numbness, loss of coordination, and increased blood pressure.

Teens can turn to cough syrups for a high since they are readily available in home medicine chests and can be purchased over the counter without needing a prescription. This easy access contributes to law enforcement and health officials concern about prescription and non-prescription drugs in the home.

If you are a parent of a teen, review the information about cough and cold medicine abuse at:

For more information about the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, go to:




Saturday, December 6, 2014

CAR THEFT- What Not To Do

Don’t make your car an easy target for car thieves. The Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force recently saw this unattended truck, with the engine running, parked in front of a 7-11 in Marysville.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


The latest issue of the Sheriff’s Office’s “Partners in Crime Prevention” has been issued. It has a message from Sheriff Trenary and holiday shopping safety tips.




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

LYNNWOOD- Package Theft

Earlier this week, KIRO-TV News ran a video of a package theft from the front porch of a Lynnwood home.  It clearly shows how easy it can be for a thief to take a recently delivered package.

The high volume of online shopping and delivery of package before Christmas increases the opportunity for thieves to steal packages from home front porches.

There are some things you can do to deter or prevent package theft.

·       Long time readers of this blog understand the benefits of keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. If a vehicle looks like it is following a UPS, FEDEX, or Postal Service truck, that is worth a call to 911, with the license number and a description of the vehicle, and, if possible, a description of the occupants.

·       Follow the package’s progress on the web site of the carrier or with a package tracking app on your phone.

·       Insure the contents of the package.

·       Alert a trusted neighbor- ask them to retrieve the package and give it to you when you get home.

·       Have it delivered to your place of work.

·        Require a signature- If you are not at home, the drivers will not leave the package at the door. The delivery service will try to deliver the package in a few days or you can pick it up at a nearby distribution center.

·       Have it held at the post office, or FEDEX or UPS distribution facility for pick up.





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Scams, Scams and More Scams

Local law enforcement agencies continue to warn citizens about scams targeting local victims.

The Mukilteo Police Department is warning its citizens about a warrant scam. Scammers tell potential victims that they have a warrant out for their arrest and that they need to pay or be arrested.

The Snohomish Police Department told The Herald about the “mystery shopper” scam. A Snohomish man recently brought in materials to the police department that he had received urging him to participate as a mystery shopper. The man did not fall for the scam.

Scammers contact potential victims via email or a letter. The potential victims are sent a bogus check for their efforts and to cover “expenses.” But, they are told the check is for more than their “pay and expenses.” They are asked to send the overpaid amount to the scammer via Green-dot prepaid cards. So, if you play along with the scammer and deposit the check, the total funds will be available to you in a few days. You send in the overpaid amount to the scammer and pocket the rest. But, the bummer comes when the bank discovers that the check you deposited is fake, and then turns to you to reimburse them for the total of the check. The scammer has your money and you have no way to find the scammer.

The Herald posted a copy of instructions for a potential mystery shopper. The first order of business is to deposit the check and get cash. As you go through this transaction at the bank, you are asked to evaluate your teller and give the name and address of the bank, the name of the cashier, your evaluation of the “smartness and professionalism of the cashier,” and how long the transaction took to complete. And, you are warned to not to tell the cashier that you are a secret shopper.

The next order of business is to go to a Rite Aid, 7-Eleven, or CVS store to get 4 $500 Green-dot Cards. And here comes your next mystery shopper assignment, evaluate the performance of the clerk who helped you.

In this example, the check that was sent to you totaled $2,380. The scammer says that you can keep $380 ($300 for your pay, $50 for transportation, $30 for taking out the Green-dot card). The scammer expects you to send him $2,000.

Now, the scammer wants you to send him a full report of your shopping experience at the bank, to include the 14 digit pin numbers of the 4 Green-dot cards by email. There is no address, physical or post office box, to send the cards to. It’s all done by email or phone. No way to find where the scammer actually lives.

The easiest thing for you to do if you receive an email or letter like this is to ignore it, do not click on any links or attachments. Report the email or letter to the Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and to the Federal Trade Commission.

The Herald:

Federal Trade Commission:


Since the beginning of this year local and state law enforcement agencies have been warning citizens of scam after scam. These scammers take advantage of just about any situation that they can find. Natural disasters such as the landslide at Oso, tragedies such as Marysville-Pilchuck have been prime targets in Snohomish County. But holidays, like the Christmas gift buying season are also prime times for scammers to take your money. The AARP recently posted a listing of holiday scams to be aware of. For than list, go to:




The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is looking for two male suspects who stole a 36” Samsung flat screen TV from a Snohomish condominium on First St. around 1am on Friday, November 21. The burglars used a light colored passenger car with a sunroof for transport.

While most residential burglaries still occur in the middle of the day, this is a reminder that they can also occur at night. The Sheriff’s Office does not offer any details on how the burglars enter the condo or if the residents were inside asleep, but this incident is a good reminder to lock your doors (and windows) when you are away from your home and when you retire for the evening. Also, if you have an alarm, set it to “stay” when you go to bed. This way, if anyone does break into your home while you are asleep, your alarm will sound, alerting you and scaring the burglars.

If you have any information about these suspects please call the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip Line at (425) 388-3845.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Sunday, November 30, 2014


While keeping belongings safe in your car, keeping yourself safe is also important. As you mingle with the shopping crowds, consider these steps:

·       Be discreet with your valuables. Do not wear expensive jewelry. Women should carry their purses close to their body. Men should consider carrying their wallet in a front pocket and/or wrapping it in a large rubber band so that it will catch in the pocket should a thief try to take it.

·       Ladies, keep your keys in your pocket not your purse. If your purse is stolen, then the thief will not be able to find your home from your driver’s license and enter it with your key.

·       When walking in a crowd, be alert to what is going on around you. Enjoy the day, but look for unusual activity. Protect and conceal your valuables. A thief can easily take your possessions then melt into the crowd.

·       Be discreet when using your cell phone. They can easily be snatched out of your hand. When not in use, carry them in a front or inside pocket of your clothing. Write down the phone’s IMEI number so that if it is stolen, you can report to your carrier as stolen. (For more information go to: Also, use the password protection feature on your phone so that only you can use it.

·       Remember where you parked. That way you can walk like you know where you are going and not wander around looking for it, becoming an easy mark for a potential robber.

·       At an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), choose one that is located inside a mall, grocery store, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Shield the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you so they cannot view your transaction or obtain your PIN. Do not throw your ATM receipt away.

·       Be alert in public restrooms. If anything seems amiss or if a group of people is loitering in the area, leave quickly and find another facility.

The Herald:

Friday, November 28, 2014

HOLIDAY SHOPPING- Preventing Theft in the Parking Lot

Now that we are in the full swing of the holiday shopping season and brick and mortar stores are trying to attract us away from online shopping, a few reminders on theft prevention are in order.

Car thefts and car prowls can be a problem in shopping mall parking lots and other parking lots. Some ways that you can keep yourself from becoming a victim include:

·         Park in well-lit areas where it is easy to see your car and where there is a steady traffic of pedestrians. Stay away from isolated areas.

·         Remove anything that is in view through the car’s windows. Lock packages in your trunk.

·         Close all windows and lock your car.

·         In a major mall, if you take packages from the store to your car’s trunk, and you are returning to the mall, move your car to another parking spot. Thieves have been known to watch for customers to bring packages to their cars and then break in when the customer returns to the mall.

·         Between the store and your car, keep your keys in your hand and walk with purpose.

The Herald:


Thursday, November 27, 2014

EVERETT- Missing Person Update

After returning home to her foster parents a few days ago, Emma Lyons has again disappeared on Wednesday November 26.She was last seen at Aces High School, in the 9700 block of Holly Drive in Everett at about 10am.

She was wearing:

  • A red sweatshirt
  • Black Capri leggings
  • Possibly a Superman baseball cap
  • And carrying a camouflaged Jansport backpack
She also may have a cell phone with a blue touch screen that only connects to WIFI and does not have a SIM card.

Emma is a 16 year old Caucasian and Native American. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weights 125lbs. She has black hair and brown eyes. She has a small scar on her right chin (1/2 inch long, 1/18 inch wide).  Emma needs medication that she does not have with her.

Emma has been known to frequent south Everett, in the vicinity of Casino Road and Mariner High School. She also is known to have connectivity in West Seattle, including High Point, Delridge and the area of Castle Park near Westwood.

If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact the Everett Police Department through 911 or by calling (425) 257-8400. The Everett PD case number is DD14-23914 and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) case number is #1240966. The NCMEC 24 hour hotline is (800) 643-5678 ( You can also email or on Twitter at #findemmalyons.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HOLIDAY PARTYING AND DRIVING- Don’t Let a DUI Ruin Your Holiday Cheer

With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, remember not to drink and drive. And remember, marijuana also can impair your driving. If you do plan on drinking at holiday festivities, find a friend to be your designated driver. Or take a cab to and from your holiday events. Police throughout the area will be looking for drivers under the influence. So, don’t let a DUI charge ruin your holiday cheer.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

IP CAMERA SECURITY- Take Simple Steps to Prevent Others Hacking into Your Cameras

More and more of us are using cameras to view our properties over the internet (often known as IP cameras). The cameras may be used for security on the outside of our homes or businesses, or they could be used to monitor our babies, older children, or baby sitters and maids. While this gives convenience and a feeling of security of our property when we are away, without implementing some simple security measures, those cameras can give the rest of the world a window into our private lives.

Recently, CBS News aired a story about Russian hackers livestreaming video from business security cameras, home security cameras and baby monitors, (

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with recommendations that you can use to secure video being broadcast over the internet.

While shopping for a system:

  • Be sure to secure the wireless transmission between your cameras and your wireless router.
  • If you plan to access your video feed off site, look for cameras that encrypt the video feed as well as your username and password.
  • If you plan on allowing others to access your video, consider a system that allows for different levels of security.
While setting up your system:

  • Be sure that you setup the cameras’ software for regular updates from the manufacturer.
  • Use the cameras’ password feature. Change the default password provided by the manufacturer to your own strong password.
  • If your cameras encrypt the data that they transmit, be sure to use that feature.
For more information about securing your video feed, go to:



Friday, November 21, 2014

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Warrant Scam is Baaaaack

Yesterday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release that it has received four complaints from citizens about receiving warrant scam phone calls. The Sheriff’s Office reminds all of us that no Sheriff’s Office employee, or county employee for that matter, will call and request payment over the phone. Nor will a deputy call to warn that they are on their way to make an arrest.

For more information, go to:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Also, other scams that have been reported previously are still making the rounds. Recently, residents of Gold Creek have reported receiving IRS scam and Microsoft scam phone calls.

In the IRS scam, someone calls or emails, and claims that you owe money to the IRS, and demands immediate payment via a prepaid card. Hang up if you receive a call from an IRS scammer.

In the Microsoft scam, someone calls, claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, and says that they have detected a virus on your computer. They want access to your computer to “fix” the problem. DO NOT allow them access to your computer, hang up. Microsoft does not call computer users about computer viruses.



EVERETT- Missing Person

The Everett Police Department is looking for a missing person. Emma Lyons was last seen on Tuesday, November 19, in the area of North Everett. She was with an unidentified male nicknamed “TB.” She left her school with a fellow female classmate on that day at about 2:30pm in south Everett.

Emma is a 16 year old Caucasian and Native American. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weights 125lbs. She has black hair and brown eyes.  Emma needs medication that she does not have with her.

If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact the Everett Police Department through 911 or by calling (425) 257-8400. The Everett PD case number is DD14-23437. You can also email or on Twitter at #findemmalyons.


Monday, November 17, 2014

ID THIEVES- How They Take Your Identity

Knowing how ID thieves take your identity can help you to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Doug Shadel, of the Washington State AARP, asked a convicted ID thief about her tricks of the trade. He learned that car prowls are a major low tech source for identities. Often ID thieves look for easy targets that have something of interest in view. When they break into a vehicle, they look for credit cards, wallets, backpacks, or other items that they can trade or sell, often for drugs. With your wallet the ID thief will look for your cash, credit cards, or PINs. Backpacks often yield laptops with lots of account information in them.

Other methods can include fake WIFI, that as you use it, the ID thief can rummage in your hard drive to find account numbers. Also, skimmers at ATMs can collect your credit card account information as you swipe your card to get some cash. Unsecured mailboxes can yield account information from bank statements and bills that have been mailed to you.

To see a short video report of Mr. Shadel’s findings, go to:

And here are 10 ways to protect yourself from ID theft:




Monday, November 10, 2014

FRAUD WATCH- Watch Out for Veteran Scams

The Fraud Watch Network, sponsored by AARP Washington and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, has issued an alert concerning scams targeting veterans or claiming to benefit veterans.

Many are typical scams that have been reported before by law enforcement agencies, but fraudsters have added veterans as specific targets or have made claims that your donation will be used to benefit veterans. The scams can include:

Charity scams: Charity scams are often used to piggy back on disasters, sick children, police or firefighter charities. Charity scams also often claim to help veterans. Along with the holiday season, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are times of the year when more scammer calls are made in the name of service personnel.

Phishing: Scammers have sent emails that looked like they are coming from the Veterans Administration. Like Medicare, the IRS and other federal agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not use the phone or email to ask for personal or financial information. Official correspondence comes only via the U.S. mail.

Benefit Schemes: Scammers will promise cash payouts for pensions and future benefits for disabled vets. The reality is that they will pay only 30 to 40 percent of their actual worth. Scammers will also claim to be “veteran’s advocates” who promise additional VA benefits by transferring retirement assets to an “irrevocable trust.” Such trusts are really unsuitable for many older veterans. The VA does not does not charge for filing pensions or other claims, scammers do.

Job scams:  Scammers will advertise that they are looking for veterans for jobs. They will use this ruse to collect personal and financial information for ID theft.

Online scams: Be wary of classified ads offering cars or other property, placed by scammers posing as soldiers deploying overseas or as families of a military member who has died. They will seek an upfront payment for a “bargain” that never materializes.

Romance scams: Recently, I reported on romance scams, where scammers claiming to live in a foreign country, fall instantly in love with you. Scammers will also pose as active-duty or retired military looking for love.

For more information about these scams, go to:

The Fraud Watch Network:



EVERETT- Police Looking for Woman in Identity Theft Scheme

The Everett Police Department as well as other police agencies including Renton, Kent, Medina and Tacoma are looking for a woman who has been using stolen credit card numbers to purchase items at local stores and then return the items for cash or sell the items.

She has been associated with credit card numbers that were stolen during the security breaches at Target and Home Depot that have been reported in the press earlier this year. She also may have used stolen identity taken from car prowls in the Everett area.

At least three of her victims have had losses of more than $10,000.

Police believe the woman is from Southern California. She has used fake names of “Christine Myers” and Christine Montgomery.” Investigators believe that her real first name may be Christine. She also has fake Washington identification. In surveillance video of the woman she usually carries a large black purse. She also wears sunglasses often on the top of her head. In the videos, she often checks her cell phone. 

Note: Police and crime prevention officers often repeatedly remind people to remove anything from view in their cars. They do that because of thieves like this woman. ID thieves actually will use your account information to purchase items for themselves. Often, they will use your credit card number within minutes of stealing your card. So, don’t leave your purse, wallet, cell phone, computer (laptop or tablet) in view in your car!

If you know this woman’s real name, or have any other information about this woman call Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS.

For more information and to see store video of this woman go to:

Washington’s Most Wanted:                                                                                                 



Friday, November 7, 2014

EVERETT- Door-to-door sales

Earlier this week that Everett Police Department was warning people to watch out for a gang of three men and one woman who have been knocking on doors claiming to be vacuum sales contractors.

The police department believes that the group uses the supposed vacuum sales as a ruse to case homes for burglaries. There have been incidents reported by the potential burglars once on October 28 and twice on the weekend of November 1-2.

The suspects drive a maroon 1993 Ford van.

If these people knock on your door, call 911.       


The Herald:                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MARYSVILLE-PILCHUCK- The Search for Answers

The students of Marysville-Pilchuck High School (MPHS) returned to school on Monday, but, their feelings still must be raw having experienced the tragedy of October 24th. Going back to classes is a return to “normal.” But for these students normal may take a long time as they sort out their feelings and emotions. The school administration recognized this situation as they set up Monday’s schedule. That day was for healing and support, something that will be needed for many months, if not years, to come.

As with the other similar school tragedies that have occurred around the country, we seek answers to why and how such a thing could happen to precious young people. Those answers will not come easy. We may never really know the why. The how may give some enlightenment. But our search for answers has the motivation to prevent this kind of thing from happening to our youth in the future.

Since the shooting, local media coverage has included observations about social media, depression, and abuse.

Social media- Social media (this includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, instant messaging, and texting) is being used more and more to communicate between family, friends, business associates, neighbors, etc. Teens have been early users of social media to talk to their friends and family. The press uses Twitter and Facebook to inform its readers and viewers about events throughout the day.

Skeptics point to social media as a distracting influence, taking the user’s attention from one on one conversations, family time, and class lectures. Others point out that for teens, social media allows them to connect with friends in an environment where their time is much more regulated with activities by parents, than older generations. Some form of social media is probably here to stay. The challenge is to learn to use it effectively and safely.

The shooting at MPHS (as well as the landslide at Oso) is an example of social media’s benefits and pitfalls. Social media allowed the students to let parents know that they were OK and to try to sort out what was going on among their friends. The problem with social media was that much of the information was raw, unanalyzed information (what we might call wild rumors). The information that was flying around was too often mis-information that caused confusion and unnecessary heartbreak to an already tragic situation. News agencies have a responsibility to check out the information that they receive before they print, post or broadcast. Local law enforcement agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Office, has a responsibility to protect the privacy of individuals as it conducts operations and investigations. Finding out what is going on may take a little longer from these sources, but we would likely have a better sense of the truth than on relying solely on rumor.

Add to that, individuals who try to bully affected victims, post threats, or take advantage of the situation to make a profit causes even more hurt and confusion. The challenge is to learn how to sort out the fact from fiction and when to believe information that you are reading on your smart phone and when not to believe it.

The Herald:                                                                                                                            

The Seattle Times:


Depression- Depression can be a problem for teen students trying to cope with modern high school life. According to the latest Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, 25 to 30 percent of teens questioned said that they were depressed with 6 to 8 percent saying that they had attempted suicide.

Getting help and support for someone who has depression is important and in some cases may be life saving; that help can come from family, friends or, if needed, from a professional.

Tell tale signs of depression might be difficult to sort out. Friends might see signs in person or through social media messages. Parents should be involved with their children to see signs of possible depression.

Some signs may include:

  • A drop in school grades
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts

For more information about depression go to the following link:


Abuse- In a program broadcast by KING-TV over the weekend, “Tough Times: Teens and Parents Town Hall,” abuse and domestic violence came up as problems that many teens often have to face in their relationships.

Abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, or financial.

Some warning signs of abuse include:

·         The victim:
o   Feels afraid of their partner
o   Avoids certain topics in order not to anger their partner
o   Feels that they cannot do anything right for their partner
o   Believes that they deserve to be hurt
o   Feels emotionally numb or helpless

·         The perpetrator:
o   Humiliates, criticizes, or yells at their partner
o   Criticizes partner for little things
o   Acts excessively jealous and possessive
o   Controls where their partner goes and what they do
o   Keeps partner from seeing friends or family
o   Constantly checks up on their partner

For more information about abuse, go to:


Only the families, friends, and school staff who were at Marysville-Pilchuck on that day of the shooting have a credible sense for what happened. Those of us who are not directly involved with the situation at Marysville-Pilchuck have received most of our information second or third hand. It is too easy to draw conclusions without accurate knowledge. Reporters will cover more aspects of this “story.” Local law enforcement agencies continue with their investigation. We may never really know and understand the how and the why.

But elements of what we know may help us in our everyday lives.

Social media is a new tool for communicating. It has its limitations and benefits. Should we use social media less? Can we tell through social media that someone is calling out for help? Thoughtful reflection should help us use this new tool more effectively and wisely.

Depression and abuse are common problem, not only for teenagers, but for adults as well. While the role of depression or abuse in the MPHS shooting may not have been determined, they are common enough problems that they need to be addressed by families, school staff, friends, and professionals.

For more information about these subjects, go to KING TV’s “Tough Times: Teens and Parents” web page for video clips of a discussion with a sampling of Puget Sound teens and resources for more information and help:




Saturday, November 1, 2014

LYNNWOOD- Survey Emphasizes Car Prowl Prevention

This is the time of year when police departments and the Sheriff’s Office reminds all of us to secure our vehicles from car prowlers. With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching thieves have many opportunities to take valuables left in view in cars. But the risk of becoming a victim of a car prowl can happen wherever you park your car; at the park and ride, the parking lot at work or school, or at home.

On October 28-29, the Lynnwood Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit along with the Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS) surveyed the parking lots of Edmonds Community College for vehicles that could be easy targets for car prowlers. The purpose was to educate the public on how it could protect itself from becoming car prowl victims.

Car prowl thieves look for anything of value that they can sell or use for other crimes such as ID Theft. That can include loose change, purses, wallets, back packs, briefcases, mail, legal documents, laptops, cellphones, CD’s, sunglasses, any retail purchases, clothing, sporting gear, medicine, GPS, tools and garage door openers.

Of 270 cars surveyed, the survey team found that half would be “easy targets.” The rule of thumb to having a safe car from car prowlers is to have nothing visible from the outside. Things that the team found that would make a car an easy target included charger cords (suggesting that there was a cell phone or Ipod in the car), purses, skateboards, open windows, unlocked cars, GPS units, Ipods, cellphones, expensive looking boots and clothing, personal ID and food (car prowlers get hungry too).

The survey team left educational flyers with each vehicle that was considered to be easy targets.

The Lynnwood PD Crime Prevention Unit recommends taking the following actions to protect your car and valuables from car prowlers:

  • Shut and lock all doors, windows and sun roofs.
  • Consider installing a car alarm or vehicle tracking system. This helps discourage car prowlers and car thieves.
  • Consider using a steering wheel locking device.
  • Use a locking fuel cap.
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • Take your keys with you. Do not leave them in your vehicle.
  • Never leave a vehicle running unattended. Winter is the time of year when some people warm up their cars while they get ready to leave home for work. Also, sometimes people will leave the car running while they make a “quick” run into a convenience store. Both are good situations for thieves to steal your car.
  • Do not leave items with personal information in your car.
  • Park in well-lit, visible areas.


The Herald:


Friday, October 31, 2014

FBI ALERT- Purchase Order Scam

Scammers look for all kinds of angles to steal from innocent victims. Here is one that builds on two other scams (online romance and work-at-home) to victimize retailers who ship. So, if you ship your inventory to your customers watch out. Also, if you are into finding your soul mate online or working from home online, you might reconsider your relationships.

This scam is sophisticated, therefore, it is a little complicated, but the essence of it goes like this:

  • The scammers set up fake websites with domain names that are almost identical to legitimate businesses or universities.
  • They contact the target business with an order and request a 30 day credit, which they receive since the business or university they are posing as has good credit. Orders may include computer, medical or pharmaceutical equipment.
  • They ask that the ordered items be shipped to a warehouse, self-storage facility or the residence of an online romance or work-from home victim.
  • When the vendor bills the real institution for the shipment, and finds out they are the victims of a fraud, the order has been re-shipped overseas, out of reach of American law enforcement


The tie to online romance scams and work-at-home scams is important. Here is a way for the scammers to get free labor from other victims. Victims often agree to receive packages and then re-ship them to overseas addresses.

Online romance scams- Criminals, often living overseas, troll social media sites or chat rooms in their search for victims. They will claim to be Americans travelling or working abroad. Their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled. The FBI notes however that every age group and demographic is at risk. The goal is to extract as much money from the victim as they can.

Some tell tale signs that you might be communicating with a romance scammer include:

  • Tries to convince you to leave the dating website and to communicate via email or instant messaging.
  • Professes instant feelings of love.
  • Sends a photo that makes them look like they are a glamorous model or actor.
  • Claims to be an American traveling or working overseas.
  • Says that he/she is planning to visit you, but then has to cancel due to a tragic event.
  • Asks for money for a variety of reasons, usually having to do with some sort of tragedy, bad luck, or financial setback.

For more information about online romance scams, go to:


Work-at-home scams- These are found everywhere offering easy money for seemingly easy tasks. A few tips to avoid these scams include:

  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to determine the legitimacy of the company.
  • Be wary when money is required up front for instructions or products.
  • Do not give your personal information when first communicating with your prospective employer.
  • Research legitimate work-at-home opportunities with the “Work-at-Home Sourcebook” or other resources at your local library.
  • Ask lots of questions of your potential employers; legitimate companies will have answers.

For more information about work-at-home scams, go to:


Some indicators of purchase order fraud are:

  • Incorrect domain names on websites, emails, and purchase orders.
  • The shipping address on a purchase order is not the same as the business location. A delivery address that is a residence or a self-storage facility should raise red flags.
  • Poorly written emails or other correspondence that contains grammatical errors that suggests the author is not fluent in English.
  • Phone numbers that are not associated with the company or university. If you call the number, a live person does not answer.
  • Orders for unusually large quantities of merchandise, with a request to ship priority or overnight.

If you are a victim of a purchase order scam, contact your local law enforcement agency and the FBI. Once the merchandise arrives overseas (often to Nigeria) it is gone. However, the FBI has had success in recovering merchandise if the fraud is discovered before it is shipped.

For more information about purchase order scams, go to: