Lights & Sirens

Go behind the yellow tape with The News Tribune

NOTICE: Lights & Sirens has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Lights & Sirens.
Visit the new section.

Category: Scams

June
4th

Kent police warn about water company scam

Kent police are warning residents about a scam that has recently been reported.

Several people have received phone calls from a man claiming to work for the city’s water department. The man threatens to shut off the homeowner’s water if they do not provide a credit card number immediately.

Here’s what the Police Department has to say about the scam:

LEGITIMATE UTILITIES DO NOT CONDUCT BUSINESS IN THIS MANNER. If you receive such a call or demand, ask the caller for their name and call back number. Then contact the utility directly, using the customer service number found on your

Read more »

April
17th

Possible magazine sale scam reported to Tacoma police

A Tacoma woman said a man tried to sell her magazine subscriptions over the weekend, telling her that he was fundraising for the University of Washington men’s soccer team. She reports that he said the magazines would be donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital or “Seattle Veterans Hospital.”

The woman said she wrote a check she knew she could cancel to United Circulation LLC. The website for a company by that name says: “This company is NOT affiliated with schools, students, charities, or fundraisers. … Sales people are not employees of United Circulation, they are Independent Contractors. … In the event that

Read more »

Feb.
27th

Sting involving Pierce County nets 21 suspected thieves, 26 stolen cars

Pierce County arraignments started today after a six-month undercover investigation that ended Tuesday with 21 people in custody and 26 stolen cars recovered, including one owned by a soldier who was deployed.

Detectives from several agencies bought stolen property from suspects as part of the Auto Crimes Enforcement Task Force, an operation they called “Shiny Penny,” according to Lakewood police.

The investigation involved auto theft, firearms violations, residential burglary and fraud across Washington state, including Pierce County, police said.

Officers identified 26 suspects during the investigation and recovered 16 firearms, among other stolen property.

SWAT teams served warrants Tuesday at

Read more »

Jan.
10th

Puyallup woman hopes others don’t get scammed like she did

We got a call the other day from Laurel Bates of Puyallup about a phone scam that was recently run on her.

She was able to get her money back but wanted to alert others to be guard against swindlers.

Here’s her account of what happened:

A man with a heavy East Indian accent woke me up out of a sound sleep, so I wasn’t thinking about what he was saying when he told me my computer was badly infected with viruses.

I told him I was sleeping and was not getting up.

After I got up, this guy

Read more »

Dec.
18th

State Patrol warns of possible AMBER alert phone scam

The Washington State Patrol says it has gotten reports of numerous calls soliciting donations for the AMBER alert system, calls troopers say appear to be a scam.

At least one such caller said he or she was seeking the donation on behalf of the State Patrol.

No one from the State Patrol or local agencies is seeking donations for the program, according to troopers.

The alert system is used to help find children who are abducted or those missing under suspicious circumstances.

The State Patrol says the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and ambertalert.com are not fundraising either.

Read more »

Nov.
8th

Man posing as TPU worker tried to talk his way into woman’s South Tacoma home

A man posing as a Tacoma Public Utilities worker tried to talk his way into a woman’s home Wednesday, according to the agency.

The man was wearing civilian clothing and a safety vest and he carried a clipboard.

He knocked on the door of the woman’s South Tacoma home, identified himself as a TPU worker and said he needed to come inside to check the water pressure.

When the woman refused to let him inside, he left in a station wagon.

TPU urged customers to ask for workers’ identification badge, which have the employee’s photo and the utility logo on

Read more »

Oct.
17th

Scam alert: Publishers Clearing House on the line? Think again

We got a call today from an 82-year-old Tacoma woman who wanted to alert us to a telephone scam directed at her.

She didn’t fall for the bait – a $1.5 million prize purportedly from Publishers Clearing House – but she also didn’t lose the $455 the scammers were looking for.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, gave us the gist of her dealings with her phone companion in hopes others would not fall for the fraud.

She said she got a call early, about 7 a.m., from a man saying she’d won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes,

Read more »

Oct.
4th

Authorities: Scammers targeted would-be renters

Pierce County prosecutors have filed 17 felony counts against a woman suspected of bilking people seeking rental homes out of thousands of dollars.

Erica Brown, 39, targeted members of the military, people receiving state and tribal assistance and others, court records show.

Brown pleaded not guilty Monday to leading organized crime, identity theft, forgery and multiple counts of theft. She’s jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

Brown ran businesses that acted as a go-between for landlords and people seeking rental houses and apartments in the Tacoma area. She advertised her companies – The Department of Relocation Services and Armed

Read more »