Friday, July 14, 2017

DISTRACTED DRIVING- New Law to Take Affect

On July 23, a new state law will take affect that bans using a hand-held cell phone while you are driving. The ban also includes use while stopped at traffic or at a traffic light, typing messages or accessing the internet or information on the phone and watching videos or using cameras.

 You can use a hand-held device in your car in the following situations,

·         With a hands-free device such as Bluetooth.

·         You can operate the device with a single touch or swipe without holding it.

·         Parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic.

·         Starting your GPS or music before you start driving.

·         Contacting emergency services.

Violators can be given a ticket that costs $136 for the first offense and $234 for a second offense (within 5 years).

Washington Traffic Safety Commission:

Here are some ideas about devices that might make phone use in your car safer,

The Seattle Times:

Friday, July 7, 2017

BURGLARY PREVENTION- What Burglars Look for in a House

Once in a house, burglars don’t want to hang around too long. What do they do when they are in your house? Most burglars who KGW TV surveyed last fall told the station:

         The first place they go is the master bedroom. That's where they can find the jewelry, credit cards, guns and a safe or lock box.

         Then its closets, safes and guns are often found in closets. If you do have a safe, make sure it is a large, heavy one easily and bolt it to the floor so that it cannot be carried away.

         On the way out, they will look for common hiding places like the stove, freezer, toilet tank, book shelves.

For more on what burglars have to say, check out the video at this link,


Thursday, July 6, 2017


We often hear advice from police on what to do, and sometimes what not to do, to protect our property. But what do burglars say? Last fall, the TV station KGW, in Portland, broadcast prevention advice from 86 burglars.

Here are some of their recommendations:

·         Biggest mistakes by homeowners:

o  Closing the drapes when they leave the house. Open drapes indicate someone is home and allows someone from the street to see a burglar inside.

o  Not closing the bathroom window.

o  Locking a sliding glass door and placing a dowel in the track is fine, but not having a second small lock on the slider makes it vulnerable to a break-in.

·         Best targets:

o  Houses with 6 foot fences.

o  Houses that cannot be seen from the street because of overgrown vegetation or fencing.

o  Houses with the mail/newspapers accumulating.

o  No vehicle in the driveway.

o  Houses away from other houses with older window frames and cheap wooden doors.

·         What do they recommend that a homeowner can do to avoid being burglarized:

o  Make your house visible with good lighting and trimmed shrubbery and trees.

o  Know your neighbors and alert police when you see anything suspicious.

o  Leave a TV or radio on when you are gone.

o  Put up a camera and make it visible.

For more on what burglars have to say, check out the video at this link,


Saturday, July 1, 2017

4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS- Call Non-Emergency Number for Fireworks Complaints

Here is a reminder, with July 4th coming, to call your Non-Emergency number for complaints about fireworks. You should use one of the following numbers:

Southwest Snohomish County (SNOCOM)- (425) 775-3000

The rest of Snohomish County (SNOPAC)- (425) 407-3999

If someone has been injured due to fireworks, or there has been property damage due to fireworks call 911 immediately.

For more information about fireworks and calling 911/non-emergency number check out this article,

The Herald:

Friday, June 30, 2017

NEW SCAM TWIST- Scammers Targeting Real Estate Closing Costs

There seems to be no end to what scammers will target. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) are warning consumers to watch out for scammers intercepting money transfers during real estate transactions.  Consumers have lost thousands of dollars thinking wiring instructions were changed when in fact scammers were redirecting their funds.   

The way the scam works is as follows:

Scammers will hack into the email accounts of buyers and real estate professionals to collect information about upcoming real estate transactions.

When the scammer finds a pending real estate deal, they will send an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or the title company, with instructions about a last-minute change to the wiring instruction to a different bank account. The new account belongs to the scammer.

This scam tries to take advantage of a buyer’s emotions as a real estate deal closes. The time up to sending payment to the seller can be a busy period in the transaction. A house purchase is an important transaction for most people, so most buyers will feel pressure to get things right. If the scammer can slip in some bogus instructions to convince the buyer to send the money to a bogus account, then they have just made some easy money.

One method of hacking for the information is phishing or in some cases spear phishing. In a phishing attack, a hacker will send an email with links to malware or attachments with malware that when opened will send back information to the hacker. In a spear phishing attack, the hacker has learned who belongs to the organization and sends the email with malware to specific employees, often posing as supervisors or other employees in the organization.

If you are closing on a house, the FTC and DFI recommend that you:

·         If you get an email changing your money-wiring instructions do not do anything until you have checked with your real estate agent or the title company. Do not call or email to any phone numbers or email addresses in the email. Use phone numbers or email addresses that you have received separately. Remember, email is not a secure way to send wiring instructions.

·         Don’t open email attachments, even from someone you know, unless you are expecting it. Opening an attachment can install malware on your computer.

For more information about this scam, look at the following links,

Federal Trade Commission:

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions:

The Simple Dollar:

For more information about phishing scams check out this link from the FTC:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


They're baaaaaack! The jury duty scam came back. According to a Sheriff’s Office posting on Facebook today three victims have told the Sheriff’s Office that they were contacted by someone who said that the victims needed to pay thousands of dollars to have a warrant “lifted” because they missed jury duty. The caller claimed to be from the Sheriff’s Office.

In one call, the scammer used the name “Deputy Miller’ and threatened arrest if the victim did not pay with a “Money Pack” (a type of cash card). In another call, the scammer claimed to be from the Sheriff’s Office’s “Civil Department.”

In a statement, Sheriff Ty Trenary said, “If someone who claims to work in law enforcement or for the courts calls you asking for payment over the phone or for other sensitive information like your Social Security number, you can guarantee this is a scam.” He added, “County employees will never call you to request this information and anyone who does should be reported to the police immediately.”

If you receive a call like this, just hang up.


Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Crime Prevention Newsletter- Fentanyl

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has published the latest issue of its crime prevention newsletter, “Partners in Crime Prevention.” This issue focuses on a new designer opioid that is causing problems in other parts of the US and in British Columbia. Local drug task forces are expecting the drug to come to the northwest. To learn more about this designer opioid, please look at the newsletter here,

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Monday, June 26, 2017

JULY 4- Use Fireworks Safely

The Fourth of July holiday is coming and fireworks will be part of the celebration.

Last year the Sheriff’s Office responded to over 540 fireworks complaints.

Remember, in unincorporated Snohomish County, you can only shoot fireworks between 9am and 11:59pm on July 4. Cities within Snohomish County set their own regulations regarding fireworks. The following handout lists the rules for most cities in the county:

The Fire Marshal’s Office recommends that you take the following measures to use fireworks safely:

         in case of an emergency, when there is an immediate threat to life or property, dial 9-1-1.

         have a bucket of water for emergencies and to douse used fireworks. Keep the ground wet.

         never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.

         never let children handle or light fireworks; even sparklers can be dangerous.

         never ignite fireworks while holding them; light one at a time and move away quickly.

         make sure you give yourself enough room in a safe location – away from buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.

         never light fireworks inside a structure.

         watch what you wear; loose clothing can catch fire while handling fireworks.

         never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned; soak them in water, then throw them away.

         never ignite fireworks while you are under the influence of alcohol and/or mind-altering drugs.

         never aim fireworks at vehicles, homes, or people.

         Only light one firework at a time.

Also, if you see illegal discharge of fireworks, please call the non-emergency phone number, (425) 407-3999 for unincorporated Snohomish County or (425) 775-3000 for cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway. DO NOT call 911 unless there is an immediate threat to life or property.

For other resources about fireworks, go to,

National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Snohomish County Fire Marshal:

Fireworks Discharge Locations:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Monday, June 19, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- New Twists to Old Scams

IRS Scam with a Twist. The IRS scam is alive and well. The IRS has issued a warning to taxpayers about a new twist to this long, lasting scam. It has received reports from around the country that a scammer, claiming to be from the IRS, tells the victim that the IRS had sent two certified letters in the mail and that they have been returned as undeliverable. Then the caller threatens arrest if the victim does not make a payment through a prepaid debit card. The caller claims that the card is linked to the IRS’s EFTPS payment system. The caller also warns the victim not to contact  their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the “tax” payment is made.

Payment is not linked to the EFTPS and is totally controlled by the scammers.

EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the internet or by phone. This is a free service and does not required the purchase of a prepaid debit card.

The IRS reminds everyone that it will not call and demand immediate payment of taxes, threaten to use local police to arrest you, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For more about protecting yourself see the alert at,

Internal Revenue Service:

Tobacco Settlement Scam. The Washington State Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers about online advertisements claiming that consumers can receive “guaranteed” tax-free payments of $2,300 every month – forever. According to the scammers, this is a provision of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The Attorney General’s Office says that this is a scam. Individuals cannot receive payments from the agreement.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement is an agreement between the four largest U.S. tobacco companies, 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. It settles lawsuits that related to health care costs incurred by the states. While not providing for payments to individuals, some states, including Washington, issued bonds backed by the settlement agreement payments as an investment opportunity.

While claiming the availability of tax-free payments, the advertisements points the reader to an order form to receive information in how to apply for the payments. Consumers must purchase a subscription that has a fee of between $79 to $129. The order form asks consumers for personal information and credit card numbers. The Attorney General’s office warns consumers that once they provide a credit card number, it may be difficult to cancel and obtain a refund.

If you have received these advertisements you may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at

Washington State Attorney General’s Office:

Door-To-Door Home Repair Scams. The AARP warns everyone that summer is a good time of year for door-to-door scammers to operate. Often, scammers will knock on your door and tell you that they have just finished some work for your neighbor and that they would be willing to do work for you at a deep discount. He will demand an up-front payment to start work then disappear or do a shoddy job and demand additional payment to finish. One example is someone claiming that they just laid down asphalt for a neighbor and that they have some extra that they could install right away and for cheap.

AARP recommends that you be wary of anyone who,

·         Comes to your door and offers to fix a problem.

·         Anyone who tries to pressure you to make a quick decision.

·         Anyone who asks for payment up front.

In dealing with potential contractors,

·         Get a written estimate and compare bids before starting any work.

·         Ask for three references and check them.

·         Check with the Better Business Bureau ( for any complaints before you hire a contractor.

For more about protecting yourself from fraud and scams go to,

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Gang Activity Increasing

On Monday, the Sheriff, Ty Trenary, two Sheriff’s Office detectives and an FBI agent testified before the Law and Justice committee of the County Council on the gang activity in the county.

Since early 2015, there have been 56 gang-related shootings that have killed two people and injured 14. Many of the people involved in this gang violence have been teenagers with the shootings occurring in and around schools and apartment complexes in South Snohomish County. The danger to the public, in addition to becoming injured or killed in crossfire, includes a rise in robberies and property crimes such as theft, car theft, car prowls, burglary, vandalism in the form of graffiti, etc.

The Sheriff’s Office team emphasized proactive police work in the form of working with other local law enforcement agencies, working with schools to lower the level of truancy, and developing community-based prevention strategies.

One of the most important things that you can do initially to prevent gang related crime is to educate yourself about the gang problem. Please look at the following sources of information.

Here are a couple of links to the testimony before the Council:

Briefing paper:

Video (the testimony starts at about 11 minutes from the beginning) Testimony lasted about 40 minutes:

This article gives a good summary of the problem,

Saturday, June 3, 2017

EDMONDS- Mail Theft

The Edmonds Police Department says that between 100 and 200 pieces of mail were stolen overnight (Friday night/Saturday morning of June 2/3) in downtown Edmonds and in the north part of Edmonds.

Most of the mail was taken from unlocked mailboxes although mail thieves did pry open some locked boxes.

A police spokesman attributed the thefts to mail thieves looking for money that has been mailed a graduation gifts. Mail thieves often look for money (cash, checks, gift cards, credit/debit cards) or information that they can easily convert to money such as account numbers on bank statements or credit card bills). With the months of May and June a prime time of year for school graduations, it makes sense the mail thieves would be looking for money as gifts in the mail.

Edmonds police highly recommend:

·         Pick up your mail regularly. Do not leave it overnight in your mail box, even if it is a locked box.

·         Consider using a locked mailbox.

Mail thieves usually go through the mail immediately after they steal it, then discard any mail that they do not want.

Edmonds police said that they would take any found mail to the Post Office so that it can be re-delivered.

If you find mail on the ground report it to police and to your local post office.

My Edmonds News:

Thursday, June 1, 2017


With summer coming, car prowls tend to rise. Recently, Teresa Wippel, from Lynnwood Today (, interviewed Lisa Wellington, a Crime Prevention Officer for the Lynnwood Police Department on how to prevent car prowls.
Wellington recommended that, if possible, you put away anything that could be construed as valuable. That can be your laptop, cell phone, glasses, purse/wallet, back pack, sports bag, etc. Some car prowlers at parking lots will watch for people putting away valuables in their trunk, console, or other hiding place. Then when the car owner leaves the car, the prowler will go right to the valuable item.
In addition, she recommended that when you park your car, you,

·       Scan the inside of your car for anything that could be considered valuable.
      ·         Stow away everything in view in your car.
      ·         Secure your car by rolling up windows, closing sun roofs’ and locking all doors.

This simple procedure will help you prevent a car prowl against your vehicle.

Lynnwood Today:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


At the end of July state law changes to clamp down on distracted driving due to personal electronics, such as a cell phone, tablet or laptop computer or gaming device. The law should take effect around July 23, 90 days after the state Legislature’s regular session ended.

The new law bans handheld uses such as composing a text or reading a message, picture or data. Taking a photograph while driving will also be illegal. The law also specifies that drivers cannot use handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal.

Texting while driving and holding a cellphone to your ear remain illegal.

You may use a smartphone if it is mounted on a dashboard cradle, for example to use a navigation app. But you cannot use it to watch video while driving.

Electronic systems that are built into your vehicle, such as hands-free calling or navigation systems, remain legal. Calls to 911 or other emergency services also remain legal. You may use a handheld device if you have safely pulled off the roadway.

Violation of the law, called Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE), is a primary offense, meaning a police officer or deputy can stop you if he/she sees you using a handheld device. And a DUIE citation will be reported on your motorist record. The traffic fine for DUIE will be $136 for the first violation and $235 for the second violation.

As passed, the law was supposed to take effect in January 2019 to allow for a ramp up of an educational effort. However, Governor Jay Inslee vetoed that part of the bill to have it take effect sooner.

The Seattle Times:

Friday, May 19, 2017

SCAM ALERT- Fraudsters Target Immigrants

Scammers target just about anyone. That includes immigrants. Scammers are taking advantage of the current turmoil of the changes in federal policy regarding immigration to take your money or get your personal information.

Recently, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned the public about scammers identifying themselves as being from “U.S Immigration” demanding victims provide or verify personal information. The scammers claim that the individual has become a victim of identity theft. The scammers often spoof the DHS Office of Inspector General hotline (1-800-323-8603) to lend legitimacy.

Also, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an alert warning of another twist that scammers are using against immigrants.

Scammers are calling immigrants in the US, claiming to be from the Canadian Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) telling the victims that they are under investigation, or there is some sort of legal case against them. The scammers spoof the caller ID so that victims think the call is from IRCC. Bottom line, as usual, to make all of this trouble go away, the scammers demand that the victim send money, right away via money transfer or prepaid gift card.

According to the FTC, the IRCC handles immigration issues in Canada. The IRCC does not take payment by phone, money transfer or prepaid gift cards. Also, the FTC says that the IRCC does not call people in the US.

Federal Trade Commission:

Like with most other scams, if you receive a phone call asking for your personal information or demanding immediate payment, just hang up.

If you have a question about your immigration status as a result of a scammer’s phone call, go to,

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CAR THEFT- Confessions of a Car Thief

Car theft continues to be a problem in Puget Sound. But with the prospect of warmer weather coming, there will be more opportunities for car thieves to steal cars. For example, many people will leave their windows open when they park their cars at the mall or at work.

Recently, KING TV broadcast a video from their Portland partner station of an interview with a former car thief. The interview gives an insight into what motivates someone to steal cars and how they work.

When asked how drivers can prevent their vehicles from theft, he recommended the following:

·         Use a steering wheel lock such as The Club.

·         Lock your car, whether you park it in a parking lot or at home in the driveway. Many car thieves (and car prowlers for that matter) check door handles to see if they are unlocked. This is called “Jockey Boxing.”

·         Install a good car alarm.

·         Install a LoJack system. LoJack is a system that alerts local police to the location of your vehicle if it is stolen. For more information about it, go to

See the video here,


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Tech Support Scam

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted a Twitter chat about Tech Support Scams. Tech support scams remain a problem, taking advantage of computer owners’ legitimate concerns of their equipment being infected by viruses and malware.

During the Twitter chat, the FTC announced a new enforcement program called “Operation Tech Trap.” The operation is a coordinated effort with the FTC and federal, state and international law enforcement agencies to crackdown on scammers using the tech support scam to steal money and identities from the public.

As part of the operation, the FTC announced 16 new actions that included the filing of complaints in court, settlements, indictments and guilty pleas. Most of the actions occurred in the United States. However, the FTC did note that it is working with law enforcement agencies in India to prosecute tech support scammers in that country.

The rest of the Twitter chat talked about what tech support scams are, how they work, and how you can protect yourself. Long time followers of this blog are probably very familiar with the tech support scam. Below are links to FTC web pages that explain the tech support scam. Please review them and pass them to your family, friends and neighbors.

Tech Support Scam Infographic:

Tech Support Scam Explanation:

Tech Support Scam Video:

If you receive a Tech Support Scam phone call or pop up on your computer, report it to the FTC here:

If you become a victim of a Tech Support Scam, go to this link to report it and receive a recovery plan:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


IRS to use private collection agencies. The IRS will begin using private collection agencies to collect taxes, fees and penalties from accounts that still owe money but the IRS is no longer actively pursuing for collection. Using private collection agencies was authorized by Congress with legislation in December 2015.

The IRS says that it will send a written notice to taxpayers and their representative when their accounts are being transferred to a private collection agency. In turn, the agencies gaining the accounts will send a letter to taxpayers and their representatives confirming the transfers.

Only four private collection agencies have authorization to collect for the IRS, CBE, ConServe, Performant, and Pioneer. The agencies must follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and their employees should be courteous and respect taxpayer rights.

The agencies will not ask for payment with prepaid debit, iTunes or gift cards. The IRS says that “Taxpayers will be informed about electronic payment options for taxpayers on Your Tax Bill. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to IRS, not the private collection agency.”

For more about this new program, go to the following links,

Private Debt Collection:

Stay Alert to Phone Scams:

IRS scam ringleader arrested. IRS scammers can work anywhere in the world. Recently, Indian law enforcement announced the arrest of Sagar Thakker in Mumbai. Indian authorities accuse him of being the mastermind of several IRS scam call centers. He is being accused of extortion, cheating, impersonation, criminal conspiracy, and violating Indian communications and tech laws.

For more detail about this arrest, look at this link,


AARP continues scam prevention education. AARP has been educating consumers about the wide variety of scams that can threaten them. Recently, it published an online fraud guide.  The guide has summaries of several scams written by AARP experts. Review the guide and please pass it on to your friends and family.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CAR THEFTS- Don’t Become a Victim

Cars, trucks, SUV’s etc. can all be stolen from just about anywhere. In a shopping mall parking lot, at a park or play field, outside a convenience store or at a gas station or even at home.

From January through the end of March, there have been 16 car thefts in and around Woodinville. Last year there were 12 car thefts during the first three months.

Car thieves have many ways to take your vehicle. The easiest is when the driver keeps the car unlocked. Sometimes drivers will “hide” keys under a mat, in the console, in the glove compartment. Car thieves, like car prowlers, often check car doors for the ones that are unlocked. And they know where to look for the common hiding places for keys. So, when you park your car in a parking lot or parking garage, take your key with you, lock your car, roll up your windows.

The same is true when you park your car at home. If you park on the street or in your driveway, be sure to lock your car, take your keys and do not leave anything in view! You might think that you are safer parking in your garage. And in a sense, you are. Your vehicle is out of sight. And assuming all the doors are closed and locked, the casual car thief will not take the time to try to get to your vehicle.

However, if you keep your garage doors open while you are gardening in the back yard, that gives an opportunity to a thief to check out your car, your lawnmower, tool box, and anything else in your garage. And for that matter, if your garage is attached to your house, the thief can check out your home. Also, there have been cases where vehicles have been securely locked only to have someone open the garage door with a remote from a car parked outside.

The lesson is to take your garage remote with you when your park your car in your driveway or in front of your house. And remove your keys and your things from your vehicle, even if it is parked in your garage. That may seem like overdoing it. But as secure as your garage may be, its security is not perfect. Also, lock the door between your garage and your house. Some crime prevention professionals even recommend having a deadbolt lock on the door between the garage and house.

For more tips on protecting your vehicle, go to

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Here is a video of a former car thief talking about how he stole cars and more prevention tips. It is older, but the advice is still relevant.

ABC News:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

BURGLARY PREVENTION- Protecting Your Property

With longer and warmer summer days approaching, home burglaries and car prowls will increase. This might be a good time to review your security measures at home. Here is some information on the subject.

Outdoor Lighting. We may think about outdoor lighting in terms of being able to see at night and for our own safety. It can also help prevent theft. Most car prowls in residential neighborhoods occur when it is dark. Cars and trucks are often parked in driveways and the streets overnight when we are asleep.

By lighting up the area where you park your vehicle you make it more likely that the car prowler would be seen and therefore more of a chance for someone to call 911. This can be especially effective if you have a security camera that covers the area. Car prowlers do not want to hang around if they think that they will be caught.

You can have lighting on a timer or a light sensor that turns the lighting on automatically. Or you can use motion-sensor lights that turn on when they detect motion. Motion-sensor lights save energy and they can startle a potential car prowler or thief.

Here is a recent article reviewing some specific lights that are on the market.

Security Gem:

DIY Security Systems. If you are interested in a security system you can have a major install sensors and cameras for you. Or you can do it yourself. There are several companies that offer inexpensive products and services that can help you monitor your home while you are away. This article introduces four newer security companies.


Protecting Your Home. Here is a tip sheet that shows you how you can prevent a burglary in your home.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

SOUTH EVERETT- Home Robbery and Assault Update

Yesterday, the Snohomish county Sheriff’s Office announced that one of the two suspects in the home invasion robbery that occurred in south Everett on Wednesday, March 29, ( turn himself in to a Snohomish County Sheriff’s captain on Friday. The Sheriff’s Office attributes the wide exposure of photos of the suspects on social media as a motivation for the suspect to turn himself in.

Police are often asked by citizens what to do in the case of a home robbery. And for at least two local police agencies, Run, Hide, Fight is the recommendation in the case of a home robbery. Run, Hide, Fight (and a similar concept called Avoid, Deny, Defend) was introduced for the “active shooter” situations that have been reported in the press. But what about a home burglary/robbery.

For Sgt. Marty Zelaya of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office’s Office of Neighborhoods, Run, Hide, Fight, should be part of your situational awareness as you go about your day. Having a plan for what you would do in a crisis, such as if you find a burglar when you return home, can help you act quickly and safely. And running, if you can, can be a better alternative than fighting.

A homeowner can come home to find a burglar in their house. Or, a burglar can enter a house not realizing that the homeowner is inside. This can create a dangerous situation for the homeowner (and the burglar). Burglars generally do not want to enter a house when someone is at home. That’s why many burglars knock on the door before kicking it in.

If a burglar thinks that someone is in the house, or if he will be caught by an alarm or a next-door neighbor, he will move on to another house. That is why, many police now recommend that when you hear that knock, and you suspect it may be a burglar, yell through the door, or at least make some noise so that the burglar knows you are there.

The idea of Run, Hide, Fight is to protect yourself from harm. Your first priority should be to avoid the danger. That’s what Mill Creek Police Chief Greg Elwin told KING TV news. Get away from the danger and call 911.

If when you arrive home you think a burglar is in it, stay outside, away from any danger. Call 911 and be the best witness that you can be. If a burglar enters your house while you are in it, leave by another door. If you can’t leave find a closet or bathroom to hide in. If possible lock the door. Turn off any lights. Silence your cell phone ringer. Be prepared to fight to defend yourself. And defending yourself does not require a gun. You can improvise a weapon from items that you have on hand. But be aggressive in your attack.

The keys are to be aware of what is going on around you and to have a mental plan for what you would do in case you encounter a burglar at your home.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:


Watch these videos about Run, Hide, Fight and Avoid, Deny, Defend to learn more about protecting yourself in an active shooter situation.


ALERRT Center at Texas State University:


The latest issue of the Sheriff’s Office’s crime prevention newsletter, “Partners in Crime Prevention,” is out. This issue covers what sex trafficking is, how the Sheriff’s Office investigates it, and how you can help to prevent it.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Monday, April 3, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Annual Free Credit Report, Handling Scam Calls

SCAM- Annual Free Credit Report

You have the right to receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every 12 months. This is important for you to detect if you have been compromised by identity theft.

To receive your credit report, you need to initiate the request. No one else will remind you. There are scammers who will send an email or have a pop up ad claiming that they are from one of the credit reporting companies or another entity who can help you with your request. As with any other phishing scheme, do not click on links from unsolicited emails or pop ups.

You can order your annual report from one central location at:

·         On the web,

·         Call toll free, (877) 322-8228

SCAM CALLS- How to Handle

Many scammers rely on our natural propensity to treat others with good manners and basic respect. But, if you suspect that you might be talking a scammer, a little coldness might be in order.

When you answer the phone, especially from a stranger, consider the following:

·         If your phone rings, and you do not recognize the phone number on your Caller ID, you do not have to answer. You can let it go to your voicemail and review the message later.

·         You do not have to call back. Even if the caller claims to be from the IRS or your local court you do not have to return the call to the number that they specify. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss you tax return. To call your local court, or police or sheriff’s office, look that up online separately.

·         Greetings are often the trigger for the scam phone call. When your phone rings, you pick it up and say “hello.”, but you hear silence. You say hello again, then someone comes on the line. Why is this? The first hello alerted the autodial software that there is someone on the line, you. Then a human has a chance to join the call. When answering this type of call, don’t say hello the second time. Wait, if you do not hear anything, hang up.

·         The best offense is a good defense, so put the other person on the defense. My wife usually adopts her “office” voice when answering phone calls from strangers. She often hears someone say “I’m sorry, I thought this was a residence.”

·         No one is entitled to your information over the phone. If a stranger calls you asking for your information, hang up. If they already do not have the information, they do not need it.

Identity Theft Resource Center:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SOUTH EVERETT- Home Robbery and Assault

On Wednesday, March 29, around 10:30am, two men broke into an occupied residence. While in the house, the two found the homeowner, ripped jewelry off her, then stole other items in the house.

Sheriff’s Office deputies did a search of the area for the suspects but could not find them. Both men were black. One wore a dark blue puffy coat with the hood up and a mask over most of his face. He wore dark pants and dark blue or black shoes with white trim along the soles. The other man wore a light blue puffy jacket and wore a dark hood over his head, He also wore blue jeans and dark shoes. Watch the video at the link below to see the robbery in progress.

If you can identify either suspect or know anything about this incident please call Detective Geoghagan at (425) 388-5258.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


If you missed the airing of KOMO TV’s town hall titled “Heroin: A community in crisis, here is the link to the video.

The opioid/heroin epidemic affects all aspects of our society and community. The professions represented at this town hall are only a portion of the professions that will need to be involved if our society will overcome this crisis. But, it does give a glimpse into some of the measures and alternatives that will be needed to solve the heroin crisis.


Monday, March 27, 2017

911- Accidental 911 Calls

Earlier this month, the Washington State Emergency Management Division issued a press release urging all of us to prevent accidental 911 calls.  

Apparently, 32 percent of all 911 calls are accidental. Accidental calls can delay response to medical or other serious emergencies. Many of the accidental calls come from cell phones. The press release recommends the following ways to prevent an accidental call:

·         Use your cellphone’s key lock

·         Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully

·         Don’t allow children to play with your phones

·         Programming 911 into phones cases accidental 911 calls. Teach your children how to dial 911.

Also, if you do accidentally call 911, stay on the line. If you hang up, a call-taker will call you back to find out what is wrong. And if necessary, they will send a patrol deputy/officer to find out what is going on. Staying on the line and simply explaining that you called by accident will help the call taker move on to the next call.

Washington Military Department, Emergency Management Division:

HEROIN CRISIS- KOMO Offers On Air Town Hall

KOMO TV will be airing a town hall on the heroin epidemic tomorrow, March 28, at 7pm. It will have a panel that will include:

·         Sheriff Ty Trenary

·         Senator Mark Miloscia of the 30th Legislative District

·         Penny LeGate founder of The Marah Project

You can watch the program on television and online.


Monday, March 20, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- FTC Offers Tips for Businesses Impersonated as part of a Phishing Scam

We have become familiar with impersonation scams where someone claims to represent a company or government agency. The IRS scam, the warrant scam, and the tech support scam are three impersonation scams. Scammers also claim to be from financial institutions such as banks to send phishing emails in an attempt to insert malware onto your computer device or get you to give them your personal information.

Most impersonation schemes that have been talked about have involved large, well known organization. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) however, has issued guidance to all businesses in steps to take in case they are used in an impersonation/phishing scam.

While many large businesses have developed procedures for this situation, smaller businesses may not have the procedures. Smaller businesses assume that they will not be used by scammers, but, given the technology that scammers have to gain access to any computer system and to spoof their true identity, small businesses should be prepared to handle this situation.

If you own or work for a small business, review this link with your ownership and/or fellow employees:

Federal Trade Commission:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

EDMONDS PD- Internet and Social Media Safety

Recently the Edmonds Police Department hosted a presentation about the internet and social media safety conducted by Detective Stacie Trykar. Detective Trykar gives suggestions on how you can protect your teen from danger on the internet, what social media sites and apps are currently popular with teens and relates some cases that have crossed her desk concerning teens, sexting, and potential exploitation.

The video is well worth viewing. It is an hour and a half so watch it when you have some time.

Edmonds Police Department:

Friday, March 10, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Handling Scam Calls, Fake Checks, Imposter Scams

With the revelation of the kidnapper scam in Snohomish County, here are some updates on scams around our area:

How to Handle a Scam Call. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has some advice on how to handle a scam call:

·         If your phone rings, and you do not recognize the number, do not feel obliged to answer the call.

·         You do not have to call back.

·         Greetings are often the trigger for the scam phone call.

·         The best office is a good defense.

·         No one is entitled to your information over the phone.

For more details, go to,


Fake Check Scams. Scammers will find an excuse to send you a check, “hire” you for a job or tell you that you won a sweepstakes. But the check is for more than what you are supposed to receive. Their solution, keep what they owe you and send them the difference. Eventually, the check bounces and you are out your money. For more, take a look at this link,

Better Business Bureau:

Oh, and it isn’t just the average person that receives these checks. Here is a story about the King County Sheriff, John Urquhart, receiving a fake check,


Imposter Scams are Increasing.  The IRS says that it has been able to reduce the number of fraudulent tax returns, but the Federal Trade Commission says that it has seen an uptick in the number of imposter scams.

This video talks about the problem and what to look out for. Hint: just hang up.

CBS News:

While the kidnapping scam received publicity locally this week, it is a national problem also as noted by this Federal Trade Commission alert,

Federal Trade Commission: