Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ANACORTES– Mystery Shopper Scam

Scammers come up with all kinds of ways to try to get our money. KOMO News recently reported on an Anacortes resident whose family member received a “mystery shopper” offer in the mail. For the resident, there were all kinds of red flags.

Legitimate mystery shopper services will have people go into stores and restaurants, do some shopping or have a meal, then give an evaluation on the service that they received. One thing these services do not do is to send you a check in the mail without meeting you first.

The scammer sent a letter that looked legitimate with a check for $1,499 inside. The letter wanted the receiver to act as a “secret shopper” at a MoneyGram store, a money transfer company. The letter receiver was to deposit the check into their bank account. Then they were to wire $1,179 to the Philippines via the MoneyGram store. The $200 difference is supposed to be pay for being a mystery shopper. And the letter wanted this done as soon as possible.

What can happen with this deal is you do as instructed, send the money off, and then your bank discovers that the check is no good. When that happens, which will take place after the bank credits your account; you are responsible for the full amount. You have no protection. The bank will take the amount of the bad check out of your account.

The red flag for this letter was that the return address on the envelope was from Phoenix, AZ, the check had a P.O. Box from Alabama and the money was to be wired to the Philippines.

For more about this letter and mystery scams in general go to the following links:



Federal Trade Commission:

Previous posting on Mystery Shopper Scam:


Friday, March 27, 2015


The American Red Cross and Premera Blue Cross are hosting a training session for hands-only CPR on Saturday April 18 at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

Sessions will be held at 8am, 9am and 10am.

They request that you arrive 15 minutes early for registration and that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

For more information contact: Jacqueline Koch - 206-799-3194

To register by phone call 425-740-2323

Save a Life Saturday:


CHILD CAR SEATS- Learn How to Properly Use Your Child’s Car Seat

The Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett is hosting an education session about car seats and how to use them on Thursday, April 2 between 7pm and 9pm. It will be held at:

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett
Medical Office Building—Olympic Room
1330 Rockefeller Ave, Everett, WA 98201

To register visit

If you have questions contact Shawneri Guzman at 425-304-6157 or

SHERIFF’S OFFICE– Partnering with Nextdoor

The Sheriff’s Office has announced on its Facebook page that it is partnering with Nextdoor, a free, private social network that is designed to help members of neighborhoods to communicate on neighborhood issues. The intent of Nextdoor is to build stronger and safer neighborhoods using the power of technology. Neighborhoods set up private accounts that allow each member to communicate.

Now, the Sheriff’s Office can send crime prevention tips, meeting announcements and bulletins to Nextdoor users. The Sheriff’s Office can communicate with all users in Snohomish County or it can focus its messages to a specific community or communities. While the Sheriff’s Office is early in its use of Nextdoor, this gives the Sheriff’s Office a new capability to communicate with the public. For example, if it is looking for a suspect in a specific area it can send an alert to that area and to surrounding areas. Also, if it sees a trend of increased burglaries in an area, it can send an alert with some crime prevention reminders to that area.

The Sheriff’s Office cannot see posts within each member neighborhood. It can receive direct messages from the members of each neighborhood and can see replies or comments to its posts. This communications remains private for the Sheriff’s Office and for individuals within each neighborhood group.

Comment: This is a major improvement for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in its capability to communicate with the public. Its announcement on Facebook pointed out that there are currently 147 Snohomish County neighborhoods on Nextdoor. That includes over 123,000 households out of an unincorporated population of over 306,000. Long time Neighborhood Watch Captains have understood the cumbersomeness of communicating with the Sheriff’s Office in many situations. This initiative should improve the Sheriff’s Office’s capability to make us aware of crimes, give us practical and timely information to protect ourselves, and give the Sheriff’s Office an improved capability to ensure our safety. Modern policing emphasizes working with citizens not only to put criminals away, but to take away the underlying causes of crime. This initiative is a new tool to put that vision into practice.  



Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TAX TIME SCAMS- IRS Scam and Refund Scam

With April 15th quickly coming here are some reminders about scams that we see at this time of year:

IRS Scam- Regular readers already know about this scam. Simply put, the IRS will not call you demanding you pay for back taxes or penalties with a pre-paid card. Nor will it arrest you if you don’t pay right away. If you have not heard of this scam, here is an alert from the IRS;-IRS-Identifies-Five-Easy-Ways-to-Spot-Suspicious-Calls.

Inflated Refund Scam- Another scam to be wary of is a supposed tax preparer promising inflated refunds from the IRS. According to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network:

“With 60% of taxpayers using professional help in filing their taxes, people should be suspicious of anyone promising inflated refunds. "Every filing season, scam artists lure victims in by promising outlandish refunds,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

How it works:

•    The scammer tells his targets they will get a large refund saying they qualify for fictitious tax credits, rebates, or government benefits.

•    They may also file a return in the person’s name and not tell the person that a refund was made – the money goes straight into the scammers’ bank account.

•    These fraudsters may use flyers distributed door-to-door or in community gathering places, advertisements, phony store fronts and word of mouth through community groups and churches to lure their victims.

What to do:

•    Watch out for tax preparers who promise a big refund - maybe even before looking at your records.

•    Be careful of supposed tax preparers who charge fees based on a percentage of the return – this is not a standard practice and gives the preparer a strong incentive to falsify the return.

•    Make sure you get a copy of the return that was filed – and then track the return (at on the IRS website. 

•    And of course, never sign a blank return – no matter what promises are made!”

Identity Theft Refund Fraud- The Fraud Watch Network also warns about identity theft refund fraud:

“Taxpayers also need to watch out for identity theft, particularly around tax time.

How it works:

•    You file your taxes expecting a refund.

•    But, you find out that someone else, using your Social Security number and likely other personal identifying information, has filed a return in your name.

•    Your return is rejected as a "duplicate" because a refund has already been issued to the scammer.

Also know that scammers will often steal Social Security numbers and other personal information of people who may not be filing a tax return—like your children or grandchildren, folks who may not have income to report, or even the recently deceased. So please share this alert with family and friends and help them detect and correct fraud!

What to do:

If you think someone used your Social Security number for a tax refund contact the IRS as soon as possible. Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your IRS account from thieves in the future. Go to or call 800-908-4490. Also if you haven’t received your refund yet, visit to check your status.”

For more information, go to:





RENTAL SCAMS– Spoofing to Take Your Money

Sometimes you are looking for a new place to rent be that an apartment or a house. Or you might be looking for a vacation rental away from home. Beware of scammers taking your money but not delivering keys.

The way the scam works is that the scammers hijack legitimate listings, and then change the pricing and contact information. They will lower the price to attract a victim, and then they will ask for a deposit to be paid by check or wire. When the victim pays, the scammer cannot be found again. For contact information, the scammer will use a burner cell phone and a fake or spoofed email address. And the scammer will set up fake references.

Red flags that you should look for include:

  • Unusually low rent
  • An out-of-state landlord or management company who cannot be contacted in person or show you the property in person.
  • They want a check or wire transfer for payment.
  • Poor grammar or poor spelling of offer in their texts.

If you do find a property that you are interested in with a very low price, do a Google/Bing search on the address. More than likely you will find the legitimate listing with rent much higher.




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SHERIFF’S OFFICE– Neighborhood Watch Signs

Neighborhood Watch signs are important tools to help discourage crime in our communities. Sgt. Ian Huri of the Sheriff’s Office’s Office of Neighborhoods has the following tips to acquire new signs for your neighborhood watch community or to replace older signs that have gone into disrepair:

·         The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office suggests using the “Boris the Burglar” signs available through the National Sheriff’s Association ( and the National Neighborhood Watch ( .

·         The signs can be ordered directly by the Neighborhood Watch groups from the vendor for NNW via the site .  The site also has stickers, yards signs and various other items for sale as well.

·         For the Boris signs, Ice Black Box will add “Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office” at the bottom of the sign to show that the Neighborhood Watch is actively participating with local law enforcement.

·         Once the signs are ordered by the Neighborhood Watch group, they are shipped directly to the person who placed the order.

·         If the sign is going to be placed along a public right of way, there are a few guidelines to follow and they are outlined in Public Works bulletin #104.  (

·         It is important to note that signs can no longer be mounted on speed limit signs or PUD poles.

·         The neighborhood watch group may need to invest in a post for placing the sign in compliance with Public Works bulletin #104.


If you have questions about ordering signs or Neighborhood Watch in general contact Sgt. Huri at

Monday, March 23, 2015

SHERIFF’S OFFICE– Crime Prevention Newsletter

The Sheriff’s Office has posted the latest issue of its crime prevention newsletter, “Partners in Crime Prevention.” This issue concentrates on drugs and the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force. Learn about heroin, marijuana and the importance of keeping it away from kids, and an initiative by the task force and the Sheriff’s Office to get drug abusers off of drugs and to clean up drug houses.

To see the newsletter go to:                                                     

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SNOHOMISH COUNTY– Smart911 Can Also Help Those with Disabilities in an Emergency

Thanks to Leslie for pointing out that Smart911 is great for the Deaf. If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can make a note of that in your profile, then agencies with Smart911, like SNOPAC, will know that if you call 911 that you need help and that your call is not a dropped call or a crank call. Also, there is a texting capability within Smart911 that can allow a deaf or hard of hearing individual to communicate with SNOPAC.

People with other disabilities, such as limited mobility or blindness, can make a note in their profile so that first responders can be better prepared when they arrive on the scene.


LYNNWOOD– Deputies Respond to Car Theft

On Thursday, March 19, in Everett, Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended a car theft suspect in a car that he had stolen earlier in the day in Lynnwood. The suspect took the car from a garage in a residential area of Lynnwood. The keys were in the car and the door was unlocked.

The suspect attempted to flee, but deputies blocked the car and forcibly removed the suspect. He was booked into jail for Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Resisting Arrest and Malicious Mischief 3. Deputies believe that the suspect has been responsible for at least three residential burglaries in the area.

Note: This incident highlights some things you can do to prevent your car from being stolen from your home. As bad as it may seem to some people, it is important to keep your doors lock (your house doors, your garage doors and your car doors) and to keep the keys to your car with you. These simple measures will easily prevent your car from being stolen.

Also, a neighbor witnessed the suspect enter the garage and drive away. While the Sheriff’s Facebook post did not mention if the witness called 911, hopefully he or she did. We don’t know when we see suspicious activity, but when we do, there is no harm in calling 911. Your call might help deputies arrest a thief.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:



Saturday, March 21, 2015

SNOHOMISH COUNTY– Car Prowler and ID Thief Sought by Sheriff’s Office

Crime prevention professionals often talk about locking car doors and not having anything in view when you park your car. A car prowler can take your purse in a second, even if you go into a convenience store or day care for just a moment. The car prowler and ID thief that the North Snohomish County Property Crimes Unit is looking for is a prime example of how this crime works.

The property crimes unit is looking for Shauntel Raymur who targets women with kids. She will wait until the woman leaves the car and then break into it to take the woman’s purse. Then, she will go to the nearest grocery or convenience store and purchase gas, fast food, and cake. Yes, she apparently likes cake, because detectives have seen video of her purchasing cake and cake mix. Detectives call her the “Birthday Cake Bandit.”

Raymur is 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. She has brown or blonde hair. She drives a dark blue GMC Yukon SUV with license plate number AGG9261.

If you know where North Snohomish County Property Crimes Unit detectives can find her call:

Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Crime Prevention note- So the thing to do to avoid being victimized be the “Birthday Cake Bandit” or any other car prowler is to take your purse or wallet with you, not leaving anything showing in your car and lock your car when you leave it. No matter how short of a time that you think you will be away!

For more on this case, go to Washington’s Most Wanted:

Friday, March 20, 2015

SNOHOMISH COUNTY– Smart911 Can Help Responders with Critical Information About You

The SNOPAC call taker took a cellphone call from a woman who was frantic. The caller could not give her address. This is common with cellphone calls. SNOPAC often cannot dispatch police or fire units because dispatchers do not have accurate enough location information. And that’s even true with our modern cellphone and GPS technology.

However, this caller registered her information with Smart911. The call taker was able to pull up the lady’s profile and confirm her home address. Dispatchers were able to send help to the right place.

Smart911 is a new service that SNOPAC started using last August, which allows citizens to register their phone numbers, address, medical conditions and medications, pets, vehicles, emergency contacts, any information that emergency responders can use to better help on a call.

The information in Smart911 is maintained as a national database. The information is secure and is not shared except when you call 911.

This is a worthwhile free service to register your information. It can help first responders help you better through a crisis.

For more information, go to:

Previous posting on Smart911:




EVERETT– Alleged Chainsaw Thief Charged with Multiple Burglaries

Joseph Nasby, who the North County Property Crime Unit has been looking for, was charged with multiple burglaries. He was wanted for burglaries in which he took chain saws and other tools. He allegedly told police that he partnered with his girlfriend.

The Herald:



Friday, March 13, 2015


The Mukilteo Police Department reports, on its Facebook page, that it has received numerous calls about citizens receiving phone calls from IRS scammers.

Federal officials have been warning about the IRS scam for over a year. It  involves someone impersonating an IRS agent making calls to unsuspecting citizens claiming that the person who answers the phone owes back taxes.

Federal officials believe that this is the largest IRS phone scam in history. In testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Timothy Camus, a Treasury deputy inspector general for tax administration, reported that more than 3,000 people have fallen victim to the scheme since 2013. And, the scam has targeted 366,000 taxpayers and collected around $15.5 million. In one case a man lost $500,000.

Federal investigators believe that several groups may be conducting the scam. Two people have been arrested in Florida for being part of the scam that involved call centers in India.

In early February, the Edmonds Police Department issued an alert about the IRS scam. Safeway store employees at 23632 Highway 99 called police when a Mountlake Terrace woman came into the store to purchase $2,400 in prepaid credit cards. When employees talked to her, she said that she needed the cards to pay an IRS debt.  Police and employees were able to cancel $3,000 worth of cards that she had purchased at another Safeway store.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has also issued warnings about this scam. It recommends that if you receive a call from an IRS scammer, hang up. That is your best protection.


My Edmonds News:

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:


Sunday, March 8, 2015


Yesterday, March 7, the Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Rescue Team located an injured hiker and flew him to ground aid units at Taylor’s Landing. The 20 year old male was scrambling between Pinnacle Lake and Mt. Pilchuck where he fell. He suffered non-severe injuries, but could not walk safely in the back country. He called 911 with his cell phone.

While this rescue benefitted from cell phone technology, hikers cannot always rely on cell phone coverage to communicate with 911 when they are in an emergency.

The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers recommend that hikers in the Cascades leave information containing their hiking plan with a trusted friend or relative. Go to this link,, for an easy to fill out form that you can leave with your friend or relative. They can relay this information to 911 in case you do not return home as planned.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:



Thursday, March 5, 2015

BOTHELL– Two Car Prowlers Caught

Bothell police have arrested two suspects for identity theft and possession of stolen property.

Bothell police have been investigating a series of car prowls near the LA Fitness in the 1600 block of 220th St SE in Bothell. In these cases, the suspects would break a window, and then take a purse or wallet. They would use the victim’s credit cards to purchase gift cards from a nearby store. The suspects would make gift card purchases in amounts from $50 to $85 and would continue to use the stolen cards until the cards were deactivated.

A call to 911 from a customer of the LA Fitness alerted Bothell police of a car break in that had just occurred. Based in this timely reporting, police officers were able to find the suspects at a nearby grocery store.

Note: This is an example of why you should not have anything showing in your car when you park it. Fitness centers as well as movie house parking lots are perfect places for car prowlers to steal your purse or wallet. They know that you will probably be away from your car for a couple of hours at least. Car prowlers also have been known to get victim’s home addresses then burglarize the victim’s home while they were in movies. Be sure to remove anything that might be in view from your car. Put it in your trunk or glove box before you arrive at your destination.