WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Three reports, plus, how to avoid getting scammed

In West Seattle (and vicinity) Crime Watch:

HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER SOUGHT: In case you missed this in morning traffic coverage, a hit-run driver killed a bicyclist on northbound 1st Avenue South just south of the West Seattle Bridge early today, and SPD’s most recent update has a description of the vehicle:

Detectives are looking for a white or silver colored 4 door compact hatchback, very similar to a Toyota Prius. The vehicle will have obvious right front headlight area damage. Anyone with information on this vehicle is urged to contact SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad at (206) 684-8923 and ask for Det. Sanders.

SPD says the man who was hit and killed was 61 years old.

Reader reports:

PACKAGE THEFT: Latest one we’ve heard about was reported by Michelle – an Amazon package stolen from her porch near 47th SW and SW Holgate between 3:45 and 5:30 pm on Monday.

WHEELS STOLEN? OR? Shelley sent this photo:

She says the car, a blue Subaru with Alaska plates, has been on 41st SW just south of SW Edmunds since Sunday, “just sitting there on the rims.” She has been a victim of auto theft herself and in case this is a missing car or something else not yet reported, she thought someone out there might like to know.

HOLIDAY SCAM/FRAUD ALERT: Just in from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge:

Around this time of year, around the Holiday season, we often see an increase in scam and fraud incidents. Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people each year- for money and/or personal information. These crooks often combine new technology with old tricks to get what they are looking for. Subsets of the population are more vulnerable to these types of scams- but everyone can help protect themselves by keeping the following ten practical suggestions in mind, provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

Spot imposters – scammers will often try to disguise themselves as someone you trust (such as a government official, family member or charitable organization). Never send money or give our personal information in response to an unexpected request.

Do online searches – try typing in the company or product name into a search engine with key words like ‘review’, ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. You can also look up phone numbers to check on their validity.

Do not believe caller ID – technology makes it simple for scammers to fake a caller ID. If you receive a call asking for personal information or money, hang up. If you feel the caller is legitimate- try calling back a number, you know is genuine for that person or company.

Do not pay upfront for a promise – scammers may try to ask you to pay up front for debt relief, loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job (such as handy work or lawn maintenance).

Consider how you pay- most credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, while other payment methods (such as wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram) do not have these protections. Government offices and honest companies will not require you to use a risky payment method, keep this in mind when paying.

Talk to someone – scammers will often want you to make decisions in a hurry and may even threaten you. Before you give money or personal information, slow down, check out the story, do an online search and maybe even talk to an expert or friend about the request.

Hang up on robocalls – if you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report this to the Federal Trade Commission and/or to local police. These calls are illegal and are often fake. Do not follow prompts, just hang up.

Be skeptical about free trials online- some companies will use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you each month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, review the company’s cancelation policy and always check your monthly statements to review charges.

Don’t deposit a check and wire money back- banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but discovering a fraudulent check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at (updated link) consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts– get the latest tips and advice about scams directly to your email.
For more information, or to access tips and suggestions in other languages, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer website – consumer.ftc.gov/topics/money-credit

And one more reminder if you see this close to when we are publishing it – the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets at 7 pm tonight at the precinct – your chance to bring neighborhood crime concerns/questions directly to local police leadership.

2 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Three reports, plus, how to avoid getting scammed"

  • bolo November 21, 2017 (10:17 pm)

    Had to laugh at their advice for robocalls: “…report this to the Federal Trade Commission…”

    I (and millions of others) have been reporting “Rachel from cardholder services” for years, yet “she” still calls at least weekly.

  • 22blades November 22, 2017 (3:17 am)

    Looks like my partner’s car a year or two ago… twice. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and your car greeting you like this. The first nano-second is like “OK, what am I looking at here?” as you slowly process it.

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