Sunday, February 26, 2017

CYBERSECURITY- Some Tips for Tax Time

Keeping your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone secure is just as important during tax season as it is throughout the rest of the year. Scammers and fraudsters will try to steel your money and your ID online by:

·       Filing a fraudulent tax return in your name. If they file it first, then the IRS will reject your filing because it only accepts one tax return per Social Security Number.

·       Phishing and malware. Cybercriminals will try to get you to click on a link or on an attachment to install malware that collects your personal information.

·        IRS scam. Scammers will call or email you posing as IRS agents to get you to pay them for a fake tax bill.

·        Tax preparer fraud. Most tax preparers are honest and has an IRS Preparer Identification Number. There are those who are unscrupulous. Be sure that the preparer that you use has an IRS Preparer Identification Number.

For more information about how you can protect yourself from cybercrime, go to this link:

Stay Safe Online/ITRC:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

FBI- New Wanted App

For years, the FBI has published its 10 Most Wanted List to seek help in capturing fugitives. It publishes information on its web site about the 10 Most Wanted as well as other fugitives for terrorism, cybercrime, kidnappings, bank robbers, etc.

Recently, it has released a free app, for Apple and Android devices, that allows you to take that information with you on your smart phone or tablet.

The app makes it easy to search the FBI’s wanted database, makes it easy to report information about a specific individual who is wanted, and to show wanted individuals from the nearest FBI field office.

Using an app makes it easier for the FBI to distribute information to the public and for the public to access information and help the FBI to capture wanted individuals.


IRS SCAMS- What the IRS Won’t Do

As we all work on our income taxes, the IRS continues issuing warnings about scammers posing as IRS agents both with phone calls and with emails who try to scare you into sending them money.

The IRS reminds everyone that their agents will not:

·         Call demanding immediate payment. If the IRS thinks that you owe tax or fees it will send you a bill via snail mail. An agent will not call you.

·         Demand payment without allowing you to question or appeal the amount owed.

·         Require you to pay your taxes a certain way such as with a prepaid debit card.

·         Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

·         Threaten to have local police arrest you.

·         Threaten to sue you.

If you are contacted by an IRS scammer by phone, hang up. If you receive an email claiming that you owe taxes do not click on any links in the email. Do not reply to the message. Forward the email to then delete the message.

You can report these incidents to:

·       Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at

Internal Revenue Service:

Friday, February 24, 2017

EVERETT- Stolen License Plates

Earlier this week KIRO TV broadcast an item about car license plates being stolen in the South Everett area. Car thieves sometimes take license plates to put on cars that they have stolen.

Replacing your license plates is a hassle and there is a monetary cost.

You can protect yourself by mounting your license plates with special screws that use unique tools to tighten the screws. You can find the screws at most auto parts stores.


Monday, February 20, 2017

BURGLARY PREVENTION- Former Burglar Gives Advice

From time to time, local police agencies will talk with a burglar to learn how they do their work. Recently, a Memphis, Tennessee TV station broadcast some tips from a former burglar to deter a thief from targeting your home.

Take a look at this short video to learn more:


For more information about burglary prevention go to:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ACTIVE SHOOTER- Crime Stoppers Weighs in with Advice

An active shooter situation can happen anywhere, anytime. The motivation for an active shooter to attack can be from a break up with a girl friend or wife, workplace tension, mental illness, or a terrorist attack. No matter why, if you find yourself in an active shooter situated, you need to act fast, thoughtfully, and decisively to protect yourself from harm.

Federal agencies such as Homeland Security have posted videos and other educational materials along the lines of Run, Hide, Fight. Recently, Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound has published its own video encouraging all of us to be aware of our surroundings and what to do if we become involved in an active shooter situation. To see that video, go to:

The Department of Homeland Security also has published a pocket card that you can keep with you that you can find here:


Sunday, February 12, 2017

SCAM UPDATE- Top Scams for 2016

Top Scams for 2016. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and AARP’s Fraud Watch Network have both issued lists of their top reported scams for 2016.

The BBB says that 2,100 scams were reported to them in the western states on its BBB Scam Tracker ( Among the top scams are tax collection (IRS scam), online purchase scams, sweepstakes/lottery/prizes, debt collection, government grants, phishing, employment, fake invoice, and tech support.

AARP reports its top three scams are:

·         Government Grant Scams- You see an ad or get a call from someone saying that you can get a guaranteed grant without having to pay the money back. The catch is that they want your checking account number to transfer the money to you. There is no grant and now the scammer has your checking account number. Don’t give strangers your checking account information.

·         Facebook Hacks- If you receive a friend request on Facebook from someone that you are already connected to, this is probably a scam. A scammer probably hacked into their account to claim that your friend is in need of money from you. If you think that you friend’s Facebook account has been hacked, let them know immediately. And check your privacy settings.

·         Online Romance Scams- Scammers will troll dating sites. They will strike up a conversation online and sometimes even on the phone. Sometimes they will try to get you to exchange emails or messages away from the site. Often, they will claim to be away in a foreign country. Be wary when they ask for financial help- for an emergency, needs help with bills, to fly out to see you. For more information about romance scams, go to:;jsessionid=00000000.app263b?NONCE_TOKEN=474F0706BB1BF774120BE4B459C388A8.

SCAM UPDATE- A Government Program that Pays Your Bills?

A Government Program that Pays Your Bills? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that people are approaching church goers, especially in African-American churches with claims that the government has a program to “pay your bills” with an up-front payment or processing fee. The scammers use the fact that the information about this “program” was spread at church to try to gain legitimacy.

The FTC warns that there is no government program that will pay your bills. There are legitimate government web sites that can help you if you are having trouble paying certain bills such as utilities or medical bills ( These sites will not ask you to pay them!

Federal Trade Commission:

SCAM UPDATE- "Can You Hear Me?"

“Can You Hear Me?” Scammers are calling people, introducing themselves, then ask “Can you hear me?” The natural thing to do is to answer “yes.” But when you do that, the scammer will have recorded your “yes” answer and then sign you up for services or products that you did not ask for. When you contact them to complain, they will play back your “yes” and threaten to sue you I you do not pay.

If you receive a phone call from someone that you do not know, do not answer “yes” to that question. Hang up. Remember:

            • Do not answer the phone from numbers that you do not recognize.

            • Do not give out personal information.

            • Do not confirm your number over the phone.

            • Do not answer questions from people you do not know over the phone.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

CALLING 911- How to Teach Children

How to call 911 is important for everyone to know, including your children. Sgt. Pat Lowe from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department offers some basic tips on when and how to teach your children when to call 911 in this video:

MLT News:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PHISHING SCAM- Cons Target Small Businesses Through Quickbooks Impersonation

Con artists are sending emails impersonating Intuit’s (the accounting company) software Quickbooks.  The email claims to be confirming that you changed your business name with Intuit. Of course, you did not make any change to your account profile. The email has a handy link to help you correct the mistake.

But if you click on that link, malware that can search for sensitive information will be downloaded on to your computer.

You can protect yourself from a phishing email by:

·         Checking the reply email address to be sure it is from the company that the email claims to be from.

·         Check the destination of any links to be sure that they take you to the legitimate company web site.

·         Consider how the organization normally contacts you.

·         Be cautious of generic emails.

·         Be skeptical of any unsolicited emails.

Better Business Bureau:

Federal Trade Commission:

CYBER SECURITY- Crooks Target Small Businesses Too

Over the last few years, data breaches and phishing attacks on large businesses have received publicity. However, big business is not the only target of cyber-thieves. Small businesses can be victimized also.

It isn’t so much that cyber-thieves target small businesses as they will go anywhere that they can steal ID information and/or take someone else’s money. Small businesses are vulnerable because they do not have large cyber security budgets. It can be difficult for small businesses with small budgets and small staffs to keep up with security in addition to focusing on the other aspects of their business.

If you have a small business you can take practical steps to protect yourself. Take a look at this article to learn more on how to improve your cyber security:

Small Business Trends:

SHERIFF’S OFFICE- Recruiting Volunteers

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is looking for people who would like to join its volunteer program.

Volunteers help Sheriff’s Deputies in several ways, including:

·         Citizens Patrol that includes non-hazardous functions such as disabled parking enforcement, radar speed checks, park and ride lot patrol and stolen vehicle search.

·         Crime prevention, by participating in events such as National Night Out and the Evergreen State Fair.

·         Project Care Track, a program that distributes transmitter bracelets to individuals who tend to wander, such as individuals with Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome, Autism, etc.

·         You Are Not Alone, a program that checks in on older adults who live alone and do not have friends or family nearby to check on their welfare.

·         Clerical and data processing.

The Sheriff’s Office currently has 40 volunteers who contribute 1,069 hours of work every month.

The Sheriff’s Office conducts a thorough screening of volunteer candidates.

If you think you would be interested in volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office, contact Sgt. Marty Zelaya at or (425) 388-5250.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office: