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:



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