Monday, December 18, 2017

WARRANT SCAM- Scammers Posing as from the State Supreme Court:

Recently, the Washington State Attorney General's Office issued a warning to the public about scammers posing as being from the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk demanding money and threatening arrest. The scammers seem to be targeting individuals with Hispanic last names.

The scammers use fake caller ID information making it seem like the calls were from the Supreme Court clerk’s office. Callers claimed that they were from the courts or law enforcement. They also threatened arrest if the victim did not send money.

The Attorney General’s Office recommends that if you receive a call like this hang up. Do not given in to high-pressure tactics, threats, or bullying. No one from the Supreme Court will call you to demand payment or threaten arrest.

Also, please let your friends know about this scam, especially if they are Hispanic.

Washington State Attorney General's Office:

RESHIPPING SCAM- Don’t Become a Money Launderer

The Identity Theft Resource Center has issued a warning about a holiday job scam called the reshipping scam. Their timing of this warning is for the holiday season, but this is a year around scam than can hurt you anytime of the year.  

The scammers recruit people via email, text message, social media or with ads in less than reputable websites. As a “work from home opportunity,” they want you to accept packages, then forward them to addresses specified by the scammer. Often the addresses at out of the country.

The scammer acquires someone else’s bankcard account number either by purchasing it on the dark web or directly from a victim in another scam. Or the scammer acquires a gift card number from a victim from a warrant scam, grandparent scam, IRS scam, etc. The scammer then may use those funds to purchase high end items, not for his own use, but to sell for a profit.

Instead of having the merchandise sent directly to the scammer (who is often out of the country), he has it sent to someone else who forwards it to him or to someone who has purchased the merchandise. You may be asked to pay for the shipping with a promise that the scammer will send you a check or money order for reimbursement.

There are several ways that you can get stuck in this scam. If the scammer sends you a check, it will bounce. The scammer can send you a check for more than he owes you, then tells you to deposit the check, then keep what you are owed and send the difference back. Then the check bounces and you are out the total amount of the check. You could also get stuck with the shipping charges and the purchase price of whatever was in the package. You can also be charged with a crime if the items being transferred are found to be stolen.

The best action to take is to be skeptical of ads or offers that claim easy money for little work.

Identity Theft Resource Center:

U.S. Postal Inspection Service:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

FENTANYL- Fake Xanax Pills Reported with Fentanyl

Snohomish Overdose Prevention on Facebook is warning the public about counterfeit Xanax pills that the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force reports seeing in Snohomish County.

 Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid that can cause an overdose or death in small amounts.

Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include pinpoint pupils, weak muscles, dizziness, confusion, extreme sleepiness, loss of consciousness, profoundly slowed heartbeat, very low blood pressure, dangerously slowed or stopped breathing, bluish tint to nails and lips.

If you discover someone who you suspect of a fentanyl overdose call 911 immediately. If naloxone is available, apply a dose. More than one dose may be needed to reverse the effects of fentanyl.

The Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force has been expecting fentanyl to show up in Snohomish County due to its presence in the rest of the U.S. and British Columbia. The task force’s observations demonstrates that fentanyl has arrived in the county.

Snohomish Overdose Prevention:

San Francisco Health Network:

National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Monday, December 4, 2017


The Sheriff’s Office has posted the latest issue of its crime prevention newsletter “Partners in Crime Prevention.” This issue has tips on preventing package theft, protecting your identity during this holiday season, etc.

To see the issue, go to,

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 7

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

The seventh and final goal is to expand access to treatment. It recommends support and expanded statewide and local non-traditional law enforcement approaches, such as drug courts, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, and embedded social workers.

This goal looks at opioid addiction more as a disease than just a criminal justice problem. As a disease opioid addiction needs treatment. The report points out that there is a shortage of treatment services in Washington State for people entering and leaving the criminal justice system. It also says that there is a shortage in “aftercare” services such as connecting people in recovery to housing and employment.

It points to a 2016 U.S. Surgeon General report that “…nationally just ten percent of Americans facing drug addiction obtain treatment, in part due to limited availability and affordability of services.”

The report encourages continuation of drug courts to use treatment as an alternative to sentencing and supervision when possible. The principle of drug courts "is that treating participants' underlying substance abuse disorder can lower recidivism." Snohomish County has a Family Drug Treatment Court, an Adult Drug Treatment Court and a Juvenile Offender Drug Treatment Court.

Local law enforcement agencies can also help guide opioid addicts toward treatment. In King County the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program diverts people arrested for low-level, non-violent offenses, such as drug possession, minor property crimes, prostitution, etc., into drug treatment and support services instead of into the court system. In Snohomish County, the both the city of Everett and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office embeds social workers with police officers in its Everett Police Community Outreach and Enforcement Team and the Sheriff’s Office’s Office of Neighborhood’s Homeless Outreach team who find treatment for willing and qualifying homeless.

For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing (

The third goal is to reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids

The fourth goal is to disrupt and dismantle organizations responsible for trafficking narcotics

The fifth goal is to prevent further increases in overdose deaths from fentanyl

The sixth goal is to improve overdose reporting and information sharing

Sunday, December 3, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 6

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

The sixth goal is to improve overdose reporting and information sharing. It has three recommendations,

1.      Direct resources toward more timely analysis of samples at the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory.

2.      Require emergency medical service providers to report patient care information, including treatment of overdoses.

3.      Require law enforcement officers to report naloxone administrations.

Data is important to analyzing any situation. Real-time overdose data can help public-health and public safety organizations respond to drug overdose patterns as they happen and to refine their intervention efforts.

Some states have centralized data clearinghouses to collect and disseminate overdose information to law enforcement, treatment and prevention organizations. Currently, the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory within the Washington State Patrol analyzes drug overdose information. It has seen a significant increase in the number of cases submitted for testing. However, there is no centralized statewide testing system in Washington, nor are there requirements for reporting of overdoses by all entities that might be involved with an overdose.

Beginning in July of this year, state legislation requires emergency departments to report overdoses to the state Department of Health (DOH) in real-time. However, as valuable as this information is, the DOH does not receive information about overdoses from emergency medical service providers (fire department EMT’s, etc.) or from local law enforcement.

The report believes that the reporting and testing of drug overdose information should be conducted in real time and should also include emergency medical service providers and law enforcement.

For the complete report, go to,
Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing (

The third goal is to reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids

The fourth goal is to disrupt and dismantle organizations responsible for trafficking narcotics

The fifth goal is to prevent further increases in overdose deaths from fentanyl

Saturday, December 2, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 5

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

The fifth goal wants to prevent further increases in overdose deaths from fentanyl. Its recommendation is to adopt enhanced criminal penalties for trafficking of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which can be deadly in small doses. In the Seattle area, fentanyl has been found in what looks like prescription pills that have been purchased illicitly. In other parts of the country, fentanyl has been added to low-grade batches of heroin which is sold as more a potent drug to increase the drug pusher’s profits. When drugs are adulterated with fentanyl the buyers do not know how much fentanyl is in the drug or even if there is fentanyl at all.

A May 2017 study from the Washington State Department of Health (“Fentanyl Overdose Deaths in Washington State”) concluded that there was an increase of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Washington State between 2015 (28) and 2016 (70).

The Attorney General/Washington State Patrol/Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s report notes that some states have enhanced penalties for drug dealers who have added fentanyl to heroin or other drugs. The report recommends that trafficking fentanyl or fentanyl analogues be added to state law as an aggravating circumstance to allow sentences above the standard range.

For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing (

The third goal is to reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids

The fourth goal is to disrupt and dismantle organizations responsible for trafficking narcotics

Friday, December 1, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 4

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

So far, the report’s recommendations have called on actions by medical and dental professionals, government entities such as DSHS, and the public.

The fourth goal focuses on law enforcement actions to “interdict” the illicit drug trade. The goal is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations responsible for bringing narcotics into our state. Under this goal the report has one recommendation, restore resources for multi-jurisdictional drug-gang task forces.

The report notes that multi-jurisdictional drug task forces work to reduce illicit drugs in the community. It highlights recent results from task forces in Grant County and Grays Harbor County.

Drug-gang task forces are federally, and state funded. State funding has declined from $1.6 million in 2006 to $0 starting in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Federal funding has had its ups and downs since 2000. In 2010, Washington State task forces received $6.6 million, while between 2011 through 2017 Washington State task forces received a yearly average of just over $3 million.

Three task forces have disbanded bringing the total of task forces in Washington to 17. Other task forces have limited their operations to match reduced budgets.

Snohomish County has two multi-agency drug task forces, the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force.

For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing (

The third goal is to reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids

Thursday, November 30, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 3

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

The third goal is to reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids. The report has four recommendations under this goal,

1.      Require providers to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before prescribing certain controlled substances.

2.      Eliminate paper prescriptions.

3.      Create a statewide medicine take-back system.

4.      Enable investigators in Washington’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to be appointed as limited authority peace officer for Medicaid fraud investigations.

Two of the major sources of non-medical use of opioids are from doctors and friends or family.

One way to feed an addiction or to sell opioids is to go “doctor shopping,” that is to visit multiple doctors or to fill prescriptions at multiple pharmacies. The state maintains a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database that is updated by pharmacists when they fill prescriptions for certain controlled substances. The database can be accessed by medical providers to identify patients who may be receiving too many opioids or dangerous combinations of medications. Currently, medical providers are not required to look up a patient’s record in the PMP database. The report would like a requirement that requires medical providers look up their patients in the database.

Prescriptions on paper lends themselves to forgery. From April 2015 to early August 2017, healthcare providers reported 86 incidents of fraudulent opioid prescriptions or stolen pads to the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission. Electronic prescribing of prescriptions allows for a more secure method of communication between a doctor and a pharmacy.

While Snohomish County and King County have medicine take-back programs, all counties in the state do not provide a way for citizens to dispose of medicines that are no longer needed. More than half of teens say that it is easy to get prescription drugs from medicine cabinets at home. Having an easy, well-advertised way for the public to dispose of unneeded prescriptions should help to prevent the family medicine cabinet from becoming an easy drug diversion source.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) is part of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. It investigates Medicaid fraud within the state, but must rely heavily on local law enforcement agencies to carry out key investigative tasks such as issuing search warrants and making arrests. The report points out that the vast majority of MFCU’s in other states have the authority of limited authority peace officers. The report believes that this limited authority would greatly help in Medicaid fraud investigations and in reducing diversion of opioids.

Next post, part 4; disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations responsible for bringing narcotics into out state.

For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing (

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SCAM ALERT- Fraudsters Targeting Veterans

The AARP Fraud Watch Network and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office are alerting military veterans that fraudsters are targeting them for scams that steal the veterans’ money and benefits.

Recently, AARP conducted a survey of veterans and found that vets are twice as likely to be victimized by scammers. According to Doug Shadel, AARP’s Washington State Director, modern technology makes it easy for scammers to buy lists of military veterans. That, coupled with veterans tend to trust other veterans, makes it easy for scammers to pose as veterans to gain their targeted victim’s trust.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned veterans on KING-TV today to think twice about any scheme that requires up-front fees. Also, many schemes would claim to obtain documents for veterans for a fee. Many times, the documents can be obtained for free by citizens.

One specific scam is the Pension Poaching Scam. This often preys on veterans who may have a large debt that they need to take care of. The scammers promise to pay the debt if the veteran signs over their pension benefits. The debt may get paid, but the veteran does not have access to their earned benefits. Doug Shadel points out that there are other legitimate ways to get help with debts. Also, it is illegal to sign over a veteran’s benefits to anyone else.

For more about scams that target vets, look at,


AARP Fraud Watch Network:

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response Part 2

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have issued a 29-page report with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

The first goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of opioids (

The second goal is to prevent addiction by curtailing overprescribing. The report makes the following recommendations,

1.      Establish limits on the amount of initial opioid prescriptions.

2.      Require patients to acknowledge that they have been informed on the dangers of opioids upon initial prescription.

3.      Support requirements or incentives for alternative pain management treatments.

The medical and dental industries can help reduce opioid addiction with judiciously prescribing opioids and other non-opioid pain relievers. The report points out that dentists are the biggest prescribers of opioids to youth, with emergency medicine providers the second highest.

Prescribing more than a week’s supply of opioids almost doubles the chance that the patients will still be using opioids one year later.

Some states limit the amount of initial opioid prescriptions. The state of Washington is moving to establish opioid restrictions. The report points out that as patients and medical providers become educated about opioid dangers and the state establishes limits, an effort needs to be made to develop and expand other non-addicting anti-pain treatments.

Next post, part 3; reduce the illicit use of prescription opioids.


For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Washington State’s Response

Last week Snohomish County announced a new effort to reduce illegal opioid use by partially activating the county’s Emergency Coordination Center ( The partial activation will allow better coordination between agencies such as the Sheriff’s Office, county Department of Health, public Works and Human Services.

The state of Washington is also responding to the opioid crisis. In June of this year, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys convened a two-day meeting of law enforcement, prosecutorial, public health, policy and medical professionals to develop strategies to reduce the supply of illegal opioids in Washington. The result of the meeting is a 29-page report issued last week with seven recommended goals to reduce illegal opioid use.

Despite efforts in Washington State to reduce opioid abuse, overdose deaths continue to rise. The report tries to include all community resources that may be able to contribute to reducing the crisis.

The first goal is to “Address significant gaps in public awareness about the dangers of opioids, as well as less risky alternatives available.” The report recommends expanded statewide, coordinated education and outreach efforts.

One in four teens believe that there is little or no risk in using prescription pain relievers without a prescription. Also, about 4,500 12th graders use prescription opioids in any given month and about 3.600 have tried heroin at least once.

The Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll has found that four in ten adults were not aware that

1.      Prescription opioid abuse makes a person more likely to use heroin.

2.      Prescription opioids are about equally addictive as heroin

In an attempt to improve the public’s understanding of the dangers of opioids, the Washington State department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will begin an education campaign to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and increase awareness of appropriate opioid use, storage and disposal and on how to respond to an overdose. While DSHS has limited financial resources to conduct the campaign it will use major media, a campaign website, Facebook and a toolkit for partner organizations.

Next post, part 2, Preventing addiction by curtailing overprescribing.

For the complete report, go to,

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

Monday, November 27, 2017

SCAM ALERT- Washington State Attorney General Issues Warning about Flood Damaged Cars

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has issued a warning concerning flood damaged cars that could be for sale in Washington State. In this morning’s press release, the office noted that scam artists are trying to sell vehicles that were flooded in hurricanes Irma and Harvey earlier this year.

The Attorney General’s Office recommends that if you are considering purchasing a used car that you take the following actions before you make your purchase,

·         Check out the vehicle’s history, title and VIN number on and/or

·         Make a test drive simulating how you normally would drive.

·         Check the gauges and any controls that rely on electricity.

·         Do a complete visual inspection looking for any signs of damage or a collision.

·         Have your mechanic check out the vehicle.

Taking these measures should help you avoid a flood damaged vehicle.

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

HOLIDAY ONLINE SHOPPING- How to Protect Yourself While Shopping Online

Thanksgiving is coming and after that Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. More and more people are foregoing the mall for the convenience of online shopping and having gifts delivered to their homes.

With that convenience comes some danger of identity theft. Here are some tips to let you protect your personal information from thieves taking your credit card or bank information.

·         Only shop on websites that use a secure connection. Look for “HTTPS” in the address bar of your browser. The “S” is your guarantee that the information being transmitted between your device and the web site is secure from snooping eyes.

·         Do not use public Wi-Fi when shopping or checking your bank or credit card account. Someone in the vicinity could intercept your signal (called a middle man attack) gaining access to your passwords and account information. Its better to use a secure Wi-Fi connection or your cellular data connection.

·         Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) as an extra layer of security. A VPN acts as a tunnel between your device and other web sites. For more information on VPN’s check out the links in the sited Windows Central article below.

·         Run anti-malware software before you start your online shopping session. This allows you to ensure that you do not have any malware on your device that can watch what you are doing while you shop.

·         Don’t fall for fake shopping apps. Shopping with a store’s app is a great, secure way to buy merchandise. However, hackers often create fake apps that try to mimic apps from legitimate stores or shopping sites. One way to try to detect the fake from the real is to look for the apps with thousands of reviews. These are often for the big stores or web sites. Also, go to the vendor’s web site that you are interested in making online purchases from and see if you can download their app from their web site.

·         Watch out for phishing emails. Fraudsters will try to get your personal information by sending you an email that looks like it is from a legitimate company. They may have a special offer or promotion, or they may claim that your information needs to be “verified.” Hover your mouse pointer over he from part of the message and see if the address looks like it really comes from the company that the email claims to be from. Do not click on any links on a suspicious email. Go to the web site of the company and see of the offer is located there.

·         Always use strong passwords for you shopping accounts. And use a different password for each of your accounts.

·         Don’t overshare information with online retailers. Only share essential information for conducting the transaction. That should mean your credit card number, expiration date and maybe the three-digit code on the back of the card. The shipping address is also essential. But if they want more information such as your date of birth, think about doing business with someone else.

·         Pay with a credit card or PayPal. Do not pay with a debit card. Anyone who gains access to your checking account through your debit card can wipe out your funds. That cannot happen with a credit card or PayPal.

·         Lock your device with a password or another technology such as facial or iris detection. If your cell phone or tablet computer is lost or stolen, this will prevent other people from accessing your private information.

Windows Central:

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

OPIOID CRISIS- Snohomish County Tries a New Strategy

In an effort to fight the county’s opioid crisis more comprehensively, County Executive Dave Somers has ordered partial activation of the county’s Emergency Coordination Center. The center, as part of the county’s Department of Emergency Management, is normally activated for natural disasters such as major earthquakes, floods and fires. Activating the coordination center will allow better coordination between local agencies such as the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Health, Public Works, Human Services as well as the county’s cities.

At a press conference that was streamed online, County Executive Dave Somers, County Health Officer Dr. Mark Beatty and Sheriff Ty Trenary all described a serious situation that requires many disciplines to control.

Numbers portray the problem. The emergency room at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett has treated 688 overdose cases through August of this year. In 2016, there were 90 overdose deaths in Snohomish County. 13 of those deaths were attributed to fentanyl or other synthetic drugs. Statewide in 2016, there were 694 fatal opiate overdoses.

Over one weekend last month, the county Medical Examiner reported 7 suspected overdose deaths. In the first six months of this year there have been 8 overdose deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. And according to Dr. Beatty, the Everett needle exchange is on track to collect over 2 million needles this year.

Comments from the three officials emphasized that the county needs to develop a multi-disciplined approach to reduce the damage of the opioid/heroin crisis. Dr. Beatty said that we need to change how we think about the problem. Opioid addiction is not a failure of will, it is a disease that may be influenced by some people’s genetics. The county needs to protect the community from harm; that includes from crime caused by addiction and the health dangers from the addiction itself. The county needs to treat the addicted but also it needs to prevent the addiction.

Sheriff Trenary said that the addiction problem is all over the county, not just in certain areas. He feels that the crisis has some ties to homelessness as well as an individual’s mental health. He said that "Letting people die is not a solution.”

Both Dr. Beatty and Sheriff Trenary pointed out that there are not enough services in the county to treat the addicted. Often, when the Office of Neighborhood’s outreach teams, which consist of deputies and embedded social workers, find people who want help, it might take a few days to coordinate help. This often requires putting the person wanting help, the client, in a hotel room. Also, the social workers are often going out of the county and out of the state to find the services that the client needs. One goal that Sheriff Trenary has is to convert an old work release facility into 40 beds where clients can stay while the embedded social workers find help.

County Executive Somers said that "Punishment doesn't work." Dr. Beatty concluded that it is a community problem and the community needs to take action to fix it.

The partial activation is called the Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAC). The county has set seven goals for the group:

1.      Reduce opioid misuse and abuse;

2.      Lessen the availability of opioids;

3.      Reduce criminal activity associated with opioids;

4.      Use data to detect, monitor, evaluate, and act;

5.      Reduce collateral damage to the communities;

6.      Provide information about the response in a timely and coordinated manner; and

7.      Ensure the availability of resources that efficiently and effectively support response efforts.

The health district has created a “one stop” web site on opioids for people who want more information or who want help with their own opioid addiction. That web site can be found at

Snohomish County:

The Herald:

My Everett News:

Friday, November 17, 2017

SCAMS- Western Union Money Transfer/FTC Settlement

Normally, with online or telephone scams the rule of thumb is that the victim cannot recover any funds that he/she may have lost. Many scammers are not near the victim, making their calls from another state or even another country. However, for some victims, they may be able to recover lost funds due to a court settlement earlier this year between Western Union and the federal government.

The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice alleged that Western Union allowed fraudsters to use Western Union money transfers as part of their scams despite receiving hundreds of thousands of complaints about the practice. Western Union also allegedly failed to promptly discipline problem agents and to have effective anti-fraud policies and procedures. In January 2017, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million to resolve the charges.

Scammers would demand that their victims transfer funds with Western Union money transfers for fraudulent lotteries and prizes, fake family emergencies, advance-fee loan scams, online dating and other scams.

If you were a victim of a scam that used a Western Union money transfer between January 1, 2004 and January 19,2017, you may have a claim for a portion of the settlement funds. You can file a claim or learn more about the settlement at

The FTC reminds you that filing a claim is free. You should not pay anyone to file a claim on your behalf. It also says that no one associated with the claims process will call you to ask for your bank account or credit card number.

Federal Trade Commission:

Monday, November 6, 2017

AUTO THEFT PREVENTION- Don’t Leave Your Car Running Unattended

Here is a reminder to stay with your vehicle if the engine is running. With the cold weather, many people like to run the engine to warm up the car or truck while they get ready in the morning to go to work. This gives a car thief a great opportunity to steal your vehicle.

Many vehicles are stolen when they are being warmed up on a cold morning. Other common car theft scenarios include when a driver keeps their engine running while they make a “quick” run into a convenience store, gas station, or ATM.

Don’t make it easy for a car thief. Shut off the engine (and lock your vehicle) if you are going to be away from your vehicle.


Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Imposter Scammers Continue to Call County Residents

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office reports that in the past few weeks it has received several reports from citizens of scammers calling with several schemes to trick citizens into giving money. The scams that were reported were primarily some form of impersonator scam such as, warrant scam, utility scam, IRS scam. In at least one case, the scammer claimed that the citizen had won a prize.

In an imposter scam, the scammer claims to be an official from a federal or local government agency. They try to scare you into sending them money to avoid imminent arrest. With the warrant scam, the caller claims to be from the Sheriff’s Office or local court and says that since you did not show up for jury duty a deputy is on his (or her) way to arrest you unless you pay an amount in iTunes cards or another gift card immediately. Some callers claim to be from the PUD and claim that you have not paid your utility bill. If you do not pay right away, they will cut off your electricity. With the IRS scam, they claim that you owe back taxes and/or late fees. Someone is on their way to put you in jail if you don’t pay.

The scams make some attempt to scare you into immediate action. Some go as far as to insist that you stay on the phone while you go to the store to purchase the cash card. Others spoof the phone number on your Caller ID so that you think that they are truly the IRS, utility, or local police.

The best thing you can do is hang up. No governmental agency will make you pay over the phone with a cash or gift card. If you want to check to see if you owe money, look up the phone number on a statement or with a Google search then contact the agency.

Also, let your family, friends and neighbors know about these scams. The more people who are aware the fewer who will become victims.

The Herald:

Federal Trade Commission:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

HALLOWEEN- Halloween Scam

Q13 recently reported on an event scam that has victimized several people out of their money. The “organizers” used the web and social media to advertise a “Haunted Booze Cruise” for October 28. Then the organizer cancelled and Q13 reports that people who signed up have not received the promised refund and are having trouble contacting the organizer.

While this was a Halloween event, this is a lesson that can be applied throughout the year. The Washington State Attorney General’s Office says that it receives many complaints about phantom events, including fun runs, booze cruises, etc. An Attorney General spokesman said that this scam is becoming “more and more common.”

Here are some tips to avoiding an event scam:

·         Look for specifics. If there is no specific time or place for the event, that might be a clue that it is a phantom event.

·         Be suspicious of any photos on event web sites. Are they stock photos that you can find on other web pages?

·         Do some investigation before signing up. For example, is it a booze cruise? Who is providing the boat? Call them up to confirm the date, etc. Is it a fun run at a local city or county park? Call the parks department and confirm that there will be a fun run.

·         When paying, use your credit card, not your debit card. With your credit card, if the organizers skip out on you, you can dispute the charge and have an easier time to get your money back.

So, have fun this Halloween, but unfortunately you might need to do a little bit of investigative work to ensure that you are signing up for a legitimate event.

KCPQ 13 News:

And if you plan a traditional Halloween with trick or treating, here are some tips for a safe Halloween night,

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is advertising a National Drug Take Bake Day for this Saturday, October 28, between 10:00am and 2:00pm. The nearest location to take your unused and unwanted prescriptions is the Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct at 10049 college Way North, Seattle, WA 98133.

While Seattle may be a bit farther than most of us would want to go to dispose of unwanted prescriptions, be aware that there are many sites in Snohomish County that you can take your unwanted drugs during normal business hours.

Removing the prescriptions that you are no longer using is important to helping reduce drug addiction in Snohomish County. Many abused drugs are obtained from family and friends from home medicine cabinets.

For information on where and when you can take your unwanted prescriptions go to,

Snohomish Health District:

For information on Drug Take Back Day go to,

Drug Enforcement Administration:

Friday, October 20, 2017

BOTHELL- Local Perspectives on Opioid Addiction

Last night the City of Bothell hosted a town meeting on opioid addiction. This was a very interesting meeting. Two people whose families were affected by opioid/heroin addiction talked about their struggles and two experts, one from the Snohomish County Human Services and the other from local law enforcement, talked about the opioid/heroin addiction effects on individuals and society. The Bothell Police Department has posted a recording of the whole meeting (about 2 hours long). This is well worth listening to.

Bothell Police Department:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

OCTOBER- Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Cyber Security is important for our national security, our business security and for each of us for our personal security. Over the past few years there has been more publicity about online fraud, scams, and identity theft. Keeping your computer devices (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, IoT device) secure should be included in your plan to protect yourself from scams and fraud. Hackers can enter your computer(s) through a variety of means to gather your sensitive personal information.

An example is the KRACK vulnerability that was recently announced. This is a vulnerability that was discovered in the basic WPA2 security protocol that is used in modern modems and routers. The vulnerability could allow a middle man attack when the attacker is within range of a Wi-Fi connection. That could be someone at a coffee shop, in a nearby office or apartment unit, or in close proximity of your house. This article from Leo Notenboom should help you decide if you need to take action and if so, what action to take:

Ask Leo:

The KRACK vulnerability points out how we have become dependent on Wi-Fi access to the internet. We use Wi-Fi in our homes, it’s easier to hook up than rewiring the whole house. We also use Wi-Fi on the go when we are shopping, traveling, or hanging out with our friends.

Many cyber security experts discourage usage of open Wi-Fi when conducting online purchases or accessing financial accounts. The Department of Homeland Security’s Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign recommends that you take the following steps to protect your online accounts:

·         Use two-factor authentication wherever possible. In two-factor (or stronger) authentication, when you login to your account, the organization holding your account sends you a code via text message or email that you also enter in addition to your use ID and password. This extra step helps assure the organization that you are really you.

·         Make strong complex passwords.

·         Use unique passwords for each of your accounts.

For more tips on how to protect your information on computer devices go to,


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

VACATION- Practical Things to Do to Protect Yourself

OK, this is not the traditional vacation season, but an article in The Seattle Times by travel guru Rick Steves caught my attention and I thought I would pass it on.

Apparently, Rick Steves was a victim of a pickpocket this summer in Paris. While he preaches using a money belt to protect cash, credit cards and other important documents, he apparently went out without his money belt. This just shows that any of us can be a victim of crime.

While on vacation we do not want to think about crime, there are a few basic things that we can do to protect ourselves and still enjoy our time in new and interesting places. Here are a few things that Rick Steves recommends,

·     Be prepared by making copies of important documents and backing up and password protecting your mobile devices.

·         Leave behind your most valuable possessions, tucked away out of sight in your room, when you are out on the street. For that matter, don’t take your most expensive and flashy jewelry with you on your trip. Leave it protected in your safe at home.

·         Harden your targets by keeping your day bags close to you, looping their straps around your arm or chair leg when you are sitting down and secure your bag with a cable tie, paper clip or key ring.

·         Stay away from crowds. This is where pick pockets can divert your attention with a bump and take whatever is in your pocket or bag.

·         Don’t be fooled by how someone is dressed or how they act. Pickpockets pose as business people, tourists, or just regular people.

·         If you are victimized, act quickly to file a police report, cancel any credit/debit cards and wipe then cancel your mobile device and account.

By taking these precautions, you will come home with good memories of your trip.

For more details and insights from Mr. Steves read his article here,

The Seattle Times: