Wednesday, October 26, 2016

GUNS- Should I Buy a Gun for Protection?

You may look around and think that there is just too much crime around us. And you might think that you want to get a gun to protect yourself. Here are some things to think about if you are considering purchasing a gun for protection:


Monday, October 24, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- IRS Scam, Referendum Scam, Credit Repair Scams

IRS Scam in the mail. Earlier this month I talked about an IRS scam that sent emails purportedly from the IRS. The email claimed to be a CP2000 notice and claimed that the person receiving it owed taxes under the Affordable Care Act (  The AARP Fraud Watch Network says that this bogus notice is now being sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Up to now, IRS scammers have not used the mail to extract money from victims. The IRS still exclusively uses the U.S. mail for initial contacts with taxpayers. With this scam now in the mails, if you receive a notice from the IRS, take some extra time to examine it. Some tip offs that this notice is not genuine are:

·       In the case of a CP2000 notice, the IRS would not claim that you owe a specific amount. It would give you a phone number to call to resolve a discrepancy that it has found in income or payment information that has been reported by your employer and information that you reported on your tax return.

·       When you pay your federal income tax or late penalties or fees, you pay the US Treasury, not the IRS.

·      The IRS does not have you send mail to a post office box, they have you send mail directly to an IRS address.

AARP Fraud Watch Network:

Results of Arrests of Mumbai, India Scammers. Earlier this month, the mass arrest of IRS scammers in Mumbai, India made the news. The scammers, from call centers, would call victims threatening financial penalties, lawsuits and arrests if they did not pay back taxes right away. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that it has seen a dramatic reduction in reports from consumers of this IRS scam. It says that in a typical week, its BBB Scam Tracker receives about 200 reports of the scam. Since the mass arrests in India, it has only received 11 reports of the IRS scam in the past week. That is almost a 95% decrease.


Fake “Referendum” Scam. According to the Better Business Bureau, a letter to senior citizens is going around the country claiming that Congress is trying to end Social Security and the organization that sent the letter needs a donation from you, by check or credit card, to fight for Social Security. The organization says that it is sending a referendum nationwide to keep Social Security.

·       This notice is an attempt to scare you into action. To put you under the “either” as a scammer would put it. And seniors are an especially vulnerable target because many rely on their Social Security payments for their daily living needs.

·        The request for a check or your credit card information opens you to identity theft.

·        The letter talks about a referendum campaign in “counties across America.” This is nonsensical language because we do not conduct national referenda. Referenda are conducted at the local and state level for local and state issues.


Credit Report Scams. If you need help with sorting out your debt, you may look for help from a credit repair company. However, many credit repair companies use confusing or misleading advertising to bring in customers.

Here are some red flags to steer clear of:

·         Companies that demand payment up front.

·         Deals that sound too good to be true.

·         Companies with representatives who cannot answer questions.

·         Companies that hold back or provide misinformation.

·         Companies that ask you to misrepresent information.

For more information, go to,

Consumer Financial Protect Bureau:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE- National Drug Take Back Day, Saturday

Disposing of un-needed or unused prescription drugs is important to reducing drug overdoses and drug addiction. Saturday is a National Prescription Take Bake Day. Between 10:00am and 2:00pm you can take your un-needed, expired or unused prescription drugs to:

Mountlake Terrace Police Department
5906 232nd St SW
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

For more information about National Drug Take Back Day and disposing of prescription drugs in general go to:

If you cannot make it to Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, you can take unused prescriptions to several other locations in Snohomish County. For more information, go to:

Snohomish Health District:

MILL CREEK- Master Postal Keys Stolen

The Mill Creek Police Department has announced that on Tuesday, October 18, a set of master keys was stolen from a mail carrier. The keys were for mailboxes in the 98012 and 98021 zip codes. The police department received reports of stolen mail from community mailboxes in neighborhoods and apartment complexes in the City on Wednesday.

As of Thursday morning, the perpetrators are still at large. The police department says that it is working with other local police agencies to identify and find the suspects.

The Mill Creek Police Department asks for your help until they can apprehend the suspect(s) by being extra vigilant about mail delivery and pick:

·         Take your outgoing mail to the post office or put it in a secure, non-communal mailbox.

·         Pick up your mail as soon as possible, and definitely before nighttime.

·         Be aware of anyone around blue drop boxes or community mailboxes that do not appear to be postal employees or customers.

·         Call 911 if you see any activity that you think is suspicious or inappropriate.

The police department reminds everyone that only postal employees are authorized to have access to the inside of the blue drop boxes or the community mailboxes.

Mill Creek Police Department:

OCTOBER- Cyber Security Awareness Month

Recently, I wrote about October being Domestic Violence Awareness month ( October is also Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Cyber (computer) security is important for you as an individual as much as it is important for our nation, big business, small business, or for local government. Poor cyber security makes all of us susceptible to identity theft, scams, fraud as well as industrial espionage, espionage against our government or other mischief.

The effects on victims of identity theft, are revealed in the latest survey, “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2016™” published by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC):

·         55% of ID theft victims reported missing time from work, 44% reported losing out on an employment opportunity, and 29% reported that they had to request government help in the form of welfare, EBT, food stamps, etc.

·         New account fraud, including opening new credit cards, utility accounts and cellular phone service, was reported by 60% of survey respondents, up by 6% from last year.

·         Survey respondents reported that victimization manifest itself through stress (74%) and anxiety (60%)

The National Cyber Security Alliance ( has been making the public aware of what they can do to protect their computers through its Stop Think Connect campaign. It recommends:

·         Keep a Clean Machine

o   Keep your security software current to defend against viruses, malware and other online threats.

o   Automate software updates by turning on automatic updates in the settings of your software and operating systems. Then you do not have to keep remembering to update your system.

o   Protect all devices that connect to the internet. This includes computers, smart phones, gaming systems, etc.

o   When you plug in USB’s or other external devices into your computer, scan them for viruses and malware.

·         Protect your personal information

o   Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Look for techniques such as two factor authentication.

o   Make passwords long and strong by combining capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.

o   Use a different password for each of your accounts.

o   Write it down and keep it safe. Keep a list of your passwords on paper, in a safe or other, secure place or in an electronic, encrypted vault.

o    Set the privacy settings of websites and services so that you limit who can see your information.

·         Connect with care

o   Be careful of links and attachments in your email, tweets, posts and websites. Be sure you know who originated the email, etc. before clicking on any link. Links are a primary way that cybercriminals use to deliver malware to compromise your computer.

o   When using Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the internet, limit your use to non-sensitive activities. Do not connect to your financial institution’s web site or conduct online shopping through a Wi-Fi hotspot.

o   Protect your accounts. When connecting to a financial institution or a shopping website, be sure the website is encrypted with a web address that starts with https://.

Stay Safe Online:

Identity Theft Resource Center:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SNOHOMISH- Car Prowlers Stealing at Weddings

Car prowlers look everywhere for cars with purses, wallets, tablet computers. And according to recent press reports, even weddings.

The press reports have been talking about a series of car prowls at wedding venues in the Snohomish area. In at least one of the car prowls, the thieves use stolen credit cards at a Fred Meyer, Walmart and Safeway later that night.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman has noted that they see more car break-ins when car prowlers think a driver will be away from their vehicle for a long period of time, such as at a mall, in a residential driveway overnight, or at an event such as a wedding or even a funeral. Burglars have also been known to break into homes when they know that the owners are at a funeral.

The spokesman reminded everyone to lock doors and roll up and lock windows. Also not to have anything showing in your vehicle when you park it. You can also help reduce the risk of becoming a victim to a car prowl or burglary by being careful of what you post on social media, such as when you would be attending a wedding, funeral, or going on vacation.

Here are two pictures of a vehicle and two males associated with the stolen credit cards, courtesy of KING-TV. If you know who these suspects are or have any information about car prowls in the Snohomish area, please call the Snohomish Sheriff’s Office’s Anonymous Tip Line at (425) 388-3845.


The Herald:


Sunday, October 16, 2016

TECH SUPPORT SCAM- Scammers Still Calling Snohomish County Residents

I have received a report of at least one more Snohomish County resident receiving a call from a tech scammer.

The call was made by a man with a slight Indian accent who said that he was calling from Redmond. He claimed that the person answering the phone had submitted an error report from their computer. He said that he needed some information or else they would lose their computer. He wanted the potential victim to get onto their computer and follow his instructions.

When asked who he worked for, the man hedged. He said that he did not work for Microsoft, but that his company did.

The person answering the phone quickly concluded this was a scam and hung up.

The potential victim observed:

1.      The caller ID on their phone said “unknown name, unknown number.” A legitimate company would have displayed their true phone number.

2.      They had not submitted an error report. And, Microsoft, of they had contacted them, would not have to ask for their system information. Microsoft already collects technical information about the computers that runs its Windows operating system. You can cut off that information if you do not want Microsoft to get it.

3.      Microsoft would not call. If there is any response, it would be via email.

If you receive a call from a tech support scammer, you can report them to:


Federal Trade Commission:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

When Joseph Peralta was arrested for stabbing his girlfriend in a Lynnwood Rite Aid, he had several felony convictions, including stalking, domestic violence and assault. Prosecutors charged him with first-degree domestic violence assault for the September 18 attack.  (The Herald:  This incident shows an ugly face of a crime that often does not receive a lot of attention.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that someone uses to gain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It can happen to anyone, no matter social status, income, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

While anyone can be the victim of domestic violence, the fast majority of victims who report domestic violence are female.

Nationwide, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. One in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. One in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. A woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger.

Some warning signs of domestic violence are: 

·         Jealousy

·         Controlling behavior

·         Quick involvement

·         Isolation

·         Blaming others for problems

Victims can face several barriers to seeking help including fear of injury, shaming and self-blame, lack of money, resources and support, and social pressures to “keep the family together.”

There are things that you can do to prevent domestic violence or help someone who is being abused:

·         Educate yourself about domestic violence.

·         Help a friend or family member who is being abused.

·         Speak up about abuse.

·         Support your local domestic violence program.

Here are some resources on domestic violence:

Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County:

Domestic Violence Awareness Project:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Tip Sheet:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office “Partners in Crime Prevention”:

IRS SCAM- From Telephone to Email

Scammers often quickly change their methods when old methods don’t work as well and to take advantage of new vulnerabilities. The IRS has announced that scammers who have been posing as IRS agents on the phone are moving to email with fake, although very convincing “bills,” from the IRS.

The email claims that the person receiving the email owes more in taxes because of the Affordable Car Act provisions. The letter asks you to send a check to the IRS at a post office box in Texas.

There are several things wrong about this email:

1.      The IRS will not email bills to you. Any correspondence will be by US mail. And according to IRS special agent Ryan Thompson, “You’re not going to have the exact bill. It’s not going to say, hey, pay this thing right now. It gives you a process to follow up with the IRS.”

2.      When you pay your federal income tax or late penalties or fees, you pay the US Treasury, not the IRS.

3.      The IRS does not have you send mail to a post office box, they have you send mail directly to an IRS address.

So far scammers have made $47 million from this scam nationwide. One million of that in the State of Washington.

Be careful of any email. If you receive an email that looks like an IRS scam, the IRS asks that you forward it to, then delete the email from your inbox.

The following link shows a sample of the email and has an interview with special agent Thompson:


Most scammers are based outside of the US borders, so it is difficult for our law enforcement agencies to apprehend and prosecute them. This story, however, talks about the arrest of 70 IRS scammers in India who were targeting Americans:

Associated Press:

Monday, October 10, 2016

HEROIN EPIDEMIC- Where to Go for Help

If a family member or a friend are addicted to heroin you may want to find help for them in getting out of that addiction. There are organizations that can help. Some organizations include:

·         Catholic Community Services, Catholic Community Services provides a wide range of services including addiction recovery, mental health, services for children, youth and families, services for the homeless.

·         Cocoon House, Cocoon House provides outreach to young people between 12-24 years old. It provides short and long term house for homeless young people between 12-17 years old. And it provides phone consultations, parent education and programs for parents and guardians.

·         Al Anon, Al-Anon/Alateen offers a recovery program for families and friends of alcoholics.

·         Changes Parent Support Network, The Changes Parent Support Network provides support for parents whose children are in self destructive activities such as drug abuse.

 Other resources include:


Snohomish Health District:

Snohomish County:


Local governmental agencies, including the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County Human Services, and local police agencies, have been conducting public forums to educate about and discuss the heroin epidemic in Snohomish County. Recently, a forum was held in Arlington.

The forums provide a background about heroin and opioids in Snohomish County and their effects on our population. The meetings are intended to educate the public on the epidemic and in a way, a call to action. Local government agencies can take action, but they need the public’s help and support in order to be successful.

According to a Snohomish Health District handout, four things need to be done toward fighting the heroin/opioid epidemic:

1.      Increase detox capacity. More detox beds are needed in Snohomish County.

2.      Expand Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) opportunities. This includes more methadone clinics, use of buprenorphine and naltrexone.

3.      Educate the public on Washington State’s Good Samaritan Law ( Up to two weeks ago, 56 lives have been saved since the beginning of distribution of naloxone.

4.      Implement evidence-based practices. This would include alternate sentencing and medically assisted treatments in place of incarceration. Offer services to addicts.

Other actions suggested that the government and the public can take include:

·         Build healthy, resilient families-

o   Educate children about drugs.

o   Involve children in healthy activities

o   Get unused prescription drugs out of homes. (Go to for where you can take your unused prescriptions)

o   Improve access to naloxone (

o   Create syringe exchanges.

·         Individuals can-

o   Learn more about the problem (This link is a good start-

o   Take action in the case of an overdose:

§  Increase heroin/opioid awareness, reduce the stigma, take the judgement out of addiction.

§  Support recovery:

·         Of the individual

·         Recovery programs

The next public forum will be on October 13, at Edmonds Community College at 6:30pm.

Snohomish Health District:

Thursday, October 6, 2016


The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has issued the following statement on its Facebook page regarding clowns:

“A statement about clowns: The Sheriff’s Office has no evidence of a credible threat to public safety in regards to the recent reports of “clown sightings” in Snohomish County. Unless there is evidence of a potential crime, Sheriff’s Office deputies and our partner city police officers will not respond to clown sightings reported to 911.

“This is another example of the media's irresponsible approach to dealing with an issue and fueling panic," said Sheriff Ty Trenary.

We offer the following advice to those who are concerned or have questions about this latest internet hoax:

1. Anytime you witness someone committing an actual crime (trespass, harassment, car prowl, etc.), whether they are dressed as a clown or a pirate or a regular citizen, you should call 911.

2. Making a threat towards individuals or communities (e.g. a school) – whether via a social media post, text message or other form of communication – is a crime and will be investigated as such.

3. Walking around in public in a clown costume is not a crime.

4. Acting or looking suspicious is also not a crime *unless the suspect displays threatening or criminal behavior* (see #1 and #2).

5. Making false reports to law enforcement is a crime.”

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Yesterday, Sheriff Ty Trenary testified before the County Council about the budget. The county expects to make up to $6 million in cuts throughout the county administration. That includes $2.4 million from the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Trenary testified that programs that could be cut could include:

·         The jail’s work-release program

·         The Office of Neighborhoods

·         The Violent Officer Task Force

·         The elimination of Precinct Services such as fingerprinting and concealed pistol licensing services

·         Reduction of assistance to city police departments for major crime and collision investigations

·         Reduction in resources to investigate identity theft and fraud

You can see a video of Sheriff’s Trenary’s testimony at His testimony starts at about 12 minutes from the start of the video.

The Herald:

MILL CREEK- Police Looking for Car Prowlers

The Mill Creek Police Department is looking for two car prowlers who are suspected of attacking a homeowner when he interrupted them breaking into his car.

In the incident, which occurred around 3am on Friday, one of the car prowlers hit the homeowner knocking him unconscious.

One suspect is described as Hispanic and between 18 and 22. He is about 5 foot-foot-4-inches and 130 pounds. He has dark eyes and short, wavy black hair, possibly in a ponytail.

Mill Creek Police asks that if you have any information about these suspects, that you give them a call at (425) 6175. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

The Herald:

Q13 Fox: