Monday, March 24, 2014

OSO, DARRINGTON- Watch Out for Disaster Scammers

With all of the sad news coming out of the slide in Oso, many people want to help and often contributing money is their best way to help. Unfortunately, scammers prey on our motivation to do good work and try to trick us to give then our money in the guise of being legitimate charity organizations.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office along with the Secretary of State’s Office and the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to be careful who we contribute to. Similar warnings are issued for national, international and local tragedies on a regular basis.

If you are considering making a contribution to the victims of the Oso slide, the organizations recommend that you consider the following:

  • Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don’t rush decisions and consider contributing at, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
  • Make sure that charities are qualified to provide the type of disaster relief that is necessary.
  • Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.
  • Never give out credit card numbers over the phone.
  • Be wary of “new” charities with unverifiable background information.
  • Watch out for solicitations from fake “victim” or memorial social media accounts.
  • Don’t be fooled by a name. Be watchful of charities that use sympathetic sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities.

Attorney General’s Press Release:

For how you can help, the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) has the following advice:

“First, do not go out to the scene. The slide area remains very dangerous. Non-dispatched individuals at the scene will complicate the response efforts of the rescue crews. Red Cross is accepting monetary donations at or call1-800-Red-Cross. Please do not bring donation of items to Red Cross shelters.” When you call or go online, you can designate where you want your money to go.

For FAQ’s concerning the slide, go to:

The DEM is also still soliciting information about loved ones who may have been in the slide area on Saturday:

“Q: Where can I send photos and information of missing loved ones?

 Please call 425-388-5088 FIRST and report your missing friends/family. You MUST do this first so we have it on the official record, then send photos of your missing friends/family to Please include the person's FULL NAME in the body of the email, along with a description of any distinguishing marks, tattoos, etc.
 Photos should be clear face shots, and photos of any distinguishing marks, etc.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

IRS PHONE SCAM- “Largest of its Kind”

Earlier this month I posted an item about the IRS scam going around where scammers would email or phone people, claiming that the recipients owed back taxes to the IRS. The emailer or caller would demand payment through a prepaid credit card. (

This morning, several national and state agencies, including the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, were putting out the word about the phone part of this scam. The AARP Fraud Watch Network also sent out an alert this afternoon.

According to the alert, a caller will call claiming to be an IRS agent and threatening license suspension, arrest or deportation.

And often the scammer will:

           Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.

           Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling.

           Send follow-up bogus IRS emails to support their scam.

           Call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV, and caller ID again supports their claim.

As mentioned earlier this month, the IRS will contact you by mail, not by phone, about unpaid taxes.

AARP recommends the following:

If you receive a call from an IRS scammer, hang up. Do not give money or credit card information over the phone. Don’t trust caller who threatens you, insults you, or bullies you.

Report the call to:

  • The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Crime Prevention Newsletter

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has posted the latest issue of its crime prevention newsletter, Partners in Crime Prevention. Subjects covered include the new web site for the Sheriff’s Office and social media and Neighborhood Watch.

Please note that distribution of the newsletter has changed. Now it will be distributed through the Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. To receive the newsletter, click on the “Stay Informed” icon on the left side of the Sheriff’s Office’s web page, fill in your email address, or cell phone number if you want text alerts, then check off the alert under “News Flash”, select “Sheriff” for alerts from the Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Officer.

You can also see the newsletter by clicking on this link:

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Sheriff’s Office Warns of “Jury Duty Warrant” Scam

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office warns the public about a scam in which a caller claims that the court has placed a warrant on you for missed jury duty.

The Sheriff’s Office learned of the scam from a phone call by a local citizen who reported receiving a phone call from a scammer making a claim that there was a warrant on her.

In the scam, the phone caller claims that to lift the warrant you need to pay a fine. The method that the caller suggests, or demands, is to buy a pre-paid credit card then call back with the card’s account number.

This is a method that has several variations. The key is that a caller claims that you are in trouble with a government entity and that you need to pay the fine in a way that is not standard with most government entities operate. Pre-paid credit cards should turn on a red light in your mind. The caller might claim to be from the IRS, a local city parking violations department, or other entity that levies fines. Some federal district courts have reported this scam, Also, this scam has also been going around in Kitsap and Thurston counties.

Local governments will not call you to recover fines or fees. The Sheriff’s Office recommends that if you receive a call from a scammer that you take down as much information as you can and then call 911.

Also, you can check to see if a local court has a warrant on you by going to one of the following links:

Snohomish County District Court-

Snohomish County Superior Court-


Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:


The Herald:


Thursday, March 6, 2014

LYNNWOOD- Police Recover Property from Regional Burglaries

The Lynnwood Police Department issued a press release today announcing that its detectives have recently recovered a significant amount of stolen property. The property was taken in burglaries in South Snohomish County, North King County, and Kirkland.

Items recovered include jewelry, tools, GPS’s, firearms, collectibles, cremated human remains, and portable electronics.

If you were the victim of a burglary during the last three years, please review photos of the property listed in the links below.  If you recognize an item as yours and have a case number, please leave a message on the Lynnwood Police Department’s crime information line, 425-670-5676.  or, a mirror site:




Note: This is where I put in a plug to inventory your valuables. It can be very helpful to police when they find property that is probably stolen. Police like to be able to return possessions to their rightful owners. For more information about Operation ID and a home inventory go to:

EVERETT- Police Looking for Car Thief

The Everett Police Department is looking for a thief who stole a U-Haul truck and car dolly this morning from the Best Western Hotel in the vicinity of 2800 Pacific Ave in Everett.

A woman who is moving from Illinois to Alaska discovered the theft early this morning. The U-Haul truck had all of her possessions.

Video of the hotel’s parking lot showed a dark colored Jeep Commander drive up to the U-Haul. Then a person got out of the passenger side, opened the U-Haul door and drove off.

Stolen were three vehicles:

  • 14 foot U-Haul box truck with Arizona license plates- AE56627
  • Dolly Trailer with Virginia license plate- 15567R
  • A black 1999 Chrysler Town and Country minivan (on the dolly) with Illinois license plates- R679783

If you see any of these vehicles, please call 911, the Everett Police Department TIP LINE, (425) 257-8450, or Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, (800) 222-TIPS.


Everett PD:



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

IRS- Warning on Fake Emails and Phone Calls

Recently, the IRS issued a warning about emails and phones callers representing themselves as being from the IRS. Scammers frequently pose as representing legitimate companies or government agencies in an effort to trick people to give them personal information that the scammer can use in identity theft schemes. Emails may have you click on a link that may look like a legitimate web site, but is controlled by the scammer and will ask for personal information such as your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, parent’s names, your birthdate, etc. Callers may demand immediate payment for bogus back taxes and penalties. The callers may try to pressure you to make payment with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

The IRS emphasizes that it will not contact you by email or phone. Nor will it ask for your personal information (it already has it). Nor will the IRS contact you through social media or text.

The IRS recommends the following:

For “phishing” emails-

·         Don’t reply to the message

·         Don’t open any attachments or click on any links.

·         Don’t give out your personal or financial information.

For unexpected phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS-

·         Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.

·         If you think that you may owe taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. An IRS employee can help you.

·         If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484 and report the incident.

·         You should also report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and use their “FTC Complaint assistant” at Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.


For more information go to IRS Tax Tip 2014-19 at: