Thursday, August 25, 2016

BELLEVUE- Car Prowlers Reveal Their Methods

Car prowls remain a problem in the Puget Sound region. Recently, Bellevue police apprehended 3 car prowlers who were open about how they operated.

At least one of the car prowlers broke into cars to feed his heroin habit. The three were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. And two of the three were charged with identity theft.

Car prowls in residential area usually occur at night. These car prowlers:

·         Targeted wealthier neighborhoods that did not have “Neighborhood Watch” signs.

·         They checked every door handle for unlocked doors.

·         If they could get into a car, they would look for spare keys in consoles and glove boxes.

·         They avoided apartment complexes for fear of being seen.

·         They also avoided homes with open windows, security signs or surveillance cameras.

While some of the methods that the car prowlers used may be specific to this group (some car prowlers might risk targeting apartment complexes because of the high number of cars concentrated in a small space) it does show that neighborhoods where the residents look out for each other, locking your doors, and having security signs and cameras can discourage car prowlers from operating in your area.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

SKAGIT COUNTY- Texting Fraud

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office has been warning the public about fraudsters sending text messages posing as banks or other financial institutions.

Normally, fraudsters and scammers will use emails or phone calls to contact potential victims. But contacting victims on their cell phones through a text message is relatively new for the Puget Sound region.

The scam is typical though. Q13 News cited one example. The text, claiming to be from Bank of America claimed that the recipient’s debit account had been locked. To unlock it, the recipient needed to click on a link. Often clicking on a link will take you to a web site that asks for your personal information or installs malware on your computer to take your personal information.

In this case she did not click on the link. She did check with Bank of America.

If you receive a message, via email, phone, or now text, from someone claiming to be from your bank, do not respond to it or click on any links that may be embedded in the message. Call your bank, using a known phone number, and report the message.


Federal Trade Commission:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

MONROE- Car Prowls

The Monroe Police Department has issued a warning about an increase in car prowls in Monroe.

Car prowls are a consistent problem in many areas of the county, whether in cities or in suburbs. And as more housing is built in the county this will continue to be a problem.

The best way that you can prevent your car or truck from being broken into remains:

·         Locking your car and keeping your windows closed when you park it.

·         Not keeping anything in sight inside your vehicle when you park it.

·         Park in a well-lit busy area of a parking lot.

At home:

·         Park in your garage with the garage door shut.

·         If you park your car outside keep it locked and do not leave anything in it.

·         Keep the area where you park your car well-lit.

·         Mount cameras overlooking your car to discourage car prowlers or at least provide evidence of who broke into it to deputies.

Most car prowlers will not break into a car or truck if they do not see anything inside. So locking and not leaving anything showing in your car will take away opportunity for the car prowler, who will move on to the next car.


Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Friday, August 12, 2016

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- DUI Patrols This Weekend

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has announced that it and the police departments of Bothell, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everett, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Monroe will be conducting high visibility DUI patrols tomorrow, August, 13th, from 7:00pm through 3:00am. The Washington State Patrol will have its Mobile Impaired Driving Unit on hand to help in the processing of any DUI drivers.

Also, the Sheriff’s Office says that it will be live tweeting the patrol from its Twitter account @SnoCoSheriff.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

IRS SCAM- What It Sounds Like

The IRS scam has received much publicity over the last year or so. Recently, an Iowa radio station took a call from an IRS scammer and recorded eleven minutes of his pitch. If you have the time, you should listen to it.

This scammer (it actually was a team of two) stuck to his script. But the key was that he tried to isolate the victim until he received his money. The victim was told that the process would take an hour. The victim had to follow “rules and regulations” to “resolve” his case. They included:

·         The victim needed to stay on the phone, he could not hang up.

·         The scammer claimed to require payment through the EFTPS, a federal payment system that allows taxpayers to pay their taxes to the federal government from their bank accounts (

·         The victim should not disclose the case with anyone, family, friends, co-workers, because there is a danger that he will lose his job.

 Other scammers may use slightly different techniques, but it is clear that the scammer wanted control of the victim by requiring the victim to stay on the phone and wanted to isolate the victim by convincing him not to tell anyone. The scammer claimed to use a legitimate federal funds transfer program for payment. While the recording did not reveal the actual procedures that the scammer demanded, clearly the money was not going to the federal government.

To listen to the recording, go to,

KSIB, Creston, Iowa:

An additional write up of the recording,

WHO TV, Des Moines, Iowa:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

MARYSVILLE- Anti-Bullying Scam

On Twitter this morning, the Marysville Police Department has announced that scammers are trying to take advantage of an anti-bullying campaign being conducted by its two School Resource Officers (SRO).

The SRO’s are collecting donations from businesses in the Marysville area to bring speakers on bullying to the area schools.

The Marysville Police Department says that the only two people collecting money are officers Jeremy Wood and Chris Sutherland (see picture). They are making personal contact for donations.

They are not soliciting by phone or asking for credit card information. The police department says that you should only donate to one of the officers or at City Hall.

If you receive a phone call asking for a donation to the anti-bullying campaign and asking for your credit card information or other personal information hang up and call 911.

For more about the SRO’s anti-bullying campaign go to,

Marysville Globe:

Monday, August 8, 2016

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Smoke Detector Scam

It’s tough being a door to door salesman these days. Too many stories of burglars knocking on the door. If no one answers, they break in and take what they can. If someone does answer, they come up with an excuse such as they are selling something for charity.

This story will not help.

According to the Gold Bar Firefighter’s Association Facebook page, a group of people, posing as firefighters were going around the Gold Bar area wanting to check homeowner’s smoke detectors. The Firefighter’s Association says that this is a scam to sell fire alarms. It emphasizes that firefighters do not make cold calls. If they come out to your house it will be at your request, in uniform with a department vehicle.

Other postings on social media have talked about a similar team in the Marysville area and North Everett. One posts described two young men, one wearing basketball shorts the other wearing all black clothes. The person making the post noted that the two did not want to take no.

Whether this is a scam or burglars trying to check out houses be wary of anyone claiming to be from a local government or utility who cannot produce identification from that organization or is pushy about entering your home.

Call 911 if anyone acts suspiciously at your door. A timely call can help deputies find a potential burglar or scammer.

Gold Bar Firefighter’s Association:

Saturday, August 6, 2016


One of the services that Sheriff’s Office volunteers provide the community is a program called You Are Not Alone (YANA). YANA volunteers check on older adults through prearranged phone calls and home visits.

The visits are intended to take away the feeling of isolation that can come from independent living by the elderly. The YANA volunteers can give peace of mind for the individual and for their family. The elderly can be a target of exploitation. Having someone checking on them regularly can help prevent them from becoming a victim. Also, people who are isolated often become hoarders in fear of running out of necessities. This can lead to unsanitary and unhealthy situations. YANA volunteers can help reduce the feeling of isolation.

If you would like more information or to sign up for the program, or you have a family member or a friend who think would benefit from YANA, go to:

You can also call (4250 388-7375 or email

Also, if you think that you would like to volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office go to At that web site you will find information about volunteer activities, contact information for your questions and a Volunteer Interest Form.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

PADLOCKS- Securing Your Stuff Without Breaking Your Bank

Sometimes you need to store things in a back shed, a locker, or a cabinet and you do not want to find them stolen when you need them. A practical solution may be to use a padlock to secure your possessions.

The following article lists some padlocks that the author from Security Gem has found to be best at fitting certain situations.

He suggests that you should be sure to match what you spend on a lock with what it will protect. You do not need an expensive lock for relatively inexpensive tools. You can save money on a cheaper lock and still have good protection. Of course the reverse is also true, a cheap lock on a shed that keeps your high end, and more expensive, tools will not protect. If a thief can easily cut the lock, then you are out your tools and a lot of money.

Technology has improved to make modern locks more difficult for the thief and easier to use for those who should have access. Bluetooth capability, protection of shackles, and newer materials make modern padlocks much better and still affordable.

To see the list, go to:

Security Gem:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- Robocalls, Invulnerability Illusion, Zika Scam

Robocalls. Robocalls, those automated calls that you often receive on your phone, are annoying. They may originate not only from aggressive telemarketers but also from scammers. The top three scams so far this year include Google listing scams, loan scams, and free vacation scams.

In the Google listing scam, scammers call small businesses and tell them that their Google (or Bing or Yahoo) listing is not up to date. For a price, the scammer will offer to help the small business update their listing.

Scammers will call victims offering to help lower loan rates or threaten to arrest them for loans that they claim are past due.

Other scammers will call saying that you have won a “free vacation.” They then use high pressure tactics to get credit card information for “taxes” or food and beverage packages.

USA Today:

The Invulnerability Illusion. We often think of scam victims as being people who are elderly, shut ins, or possibly immigrants. And while these populations can be vulnerable to scammers and fraudsters, a Better Business Bureau (BBB) survey finds that scam victims are not limited to those populations.

The survey finds that most people view scam victims as either pitied victims- vulnerable, elderly, or alone, or scorned victims- stupid, ignorant or lacking in common sense. The BBB points out scams are under reported due to the shame and stigma that is often associated with being a scam victim. It finds that those who do speak up after being victimized often are motivated with a desire to warn others of the danger.

The survey found that those who have been victimized by a scam or a fraud are often younger and better educated that many of us might assume to be the case. The survey also finds that knowledge of the existence of specific scams and frauds helps individuals to protect themselves from becoming victimized.

As with other forms of criminal activity, awareness helps all of us to take preventative measures that protects ourselves from becoming victims.

Better Business Bureau:

Zika Scams. Scammers frequently try to take advantage of high profile disasters to victimized honest people. The current publicity around the Zika virus is no exception. According to an AARP scam alert, scammers are pushing online offers for “miracle,” “dietary” or “natural” products that supposedly prevent or cure Zika. Many times these fake offers come in emails with alarming messages with “must-read” links that in reality launch computer viruses. Other scammers are hocking investment opportunities for companies that are supposedly developing products to stop Zika. And finally, scammers are promoting charity scams that claim to help victims or to fight the disease.

AARP points out that there currently is no vaccine to prevent the virus or a drug to treat it. Currently, the only known victims of the virus from mosquito bites are in the Miami, Florida area. The best protection from Zika is to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, long pants and using insect repellent.

If you receive an email with any claims for “miracle” products, investment opportunities, or seeking support for charities helping Zika victims delete it without clinking on any links.