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Check out the Charger

Have you seen this new police car zipping around town? Hopefully not with it's blue lights on behind you!  Too bad this shot isn't from the front because it kind of has a big mean ass-kicking face on it. Ford will no longer be making the beloved Crown Victoria's, so this is the first of three new Dodge Charger replacement cars for our PD.  It was decided to go to the black/whites since they are typically more widely recognized as police vehicles.  I heard our boys in blue are doing rock/paper/scissors at the beginning of shifts to see who gets to drive it. ;-) j

Have YOU been skimmed?

Although the question sounds a bit risque, there is nothing sexy about it when you are a victim.  After my post last week about our recent credit card skimming incident, I've been receiving lots of emails and questions about this hot topic. Quick overview of the scam: the bad guys have card swipers that steal your credit card number and then they create a new card with it (and a fictitious name that they conveniently made an ID to match).  You don't realize your card is being used since you still have it, and either the credit card company detects some ludicrous spending or you see it (or don't??) when your statement arrives. It was most disturbing to hear how many people this has happened to.  About 75% of the people I spoke to on this topic responded with, "Oh yeah, that happened to me too..." Some people multiple times. Ack!  Bad guys=3 pts, us with plastic=0 pts.

We are still not sure where my bad guy got our card number.  The most frustrating thing about this crime is that it's impossible to proactively avoid it.  But here are some thoughts about how to minimize your risk:

-If you're using a card, use credit instead of debit.  Credit card companies are much easier to get reimbursed from if this happens to you as it's not a direct siphon into your bank account.  Interestingly, though, I've had a few friends that had this happen via their debit cards and said the funds were promptly re-instated. Might depend on the bank and the amount.

-ATM machines-cards have been skimmed at all the banks around here (ssshhh- they don't want us to know- we might get scared!). When you are taking cash out use your other hand to cover the keys when you are typing in your PIN.  Bad guys sometimes put cameras where they can video your PIN entry.  I thought I was very smart doing this the other day and the paper I was using to mask my code went fluttering underneath my car and I couldn't open my door without taking out a rear-view mirror.  I'm only telling you this so I can save you the embarrassment when it's your turn in line.

-Gas stations-The typical skim at a gas station has a device on top of where you normally put your card in.  So it's like a 2 for 1 swipe on your card, 1 for the gas station and another for the bad guy.  Jiggle the plastic on the swiper at the pump before you put your card in to insure it's not a removable device. I did this today.  About 3 times before I put my card in so I may be a little paranoid.  Followed by worry that people were staring at me like I was a bit crazy. :-P

-Restaurants-When your friendly waitress dashes away with your credit card in her hand, she could be grabbing your card number for herself before you get charged for that dinner.  But I don't know how to avoid this one??? Stalk her to the back counter and watch her swipe your card?  Have her drag the machine and all its cords to your table? I guess you could pay cash. or go home and wrap yourself and your credit card in bubble paper and duct tape vowing never to separate again--but what fun would that be?  Not so good for the economy either.

Hopefully you can avoid this all-too-popular scam, but if you end up an unfortunate victim......REPORT IT!  To your credit card company, of course, who has you file a claim with their fraud dept but also to the Police Dept (non-emergency is 425-587-3400).  For the credit card companies this is a cost of doing business.  But the police love to catch bad guys.  Credit card companies are concerned about the fraud against their company, while the police can connect the dots of all the people/places this has happened to in certain areas and then make some arrests! I will ask Detective Corporal Don Carroll of the Kirkland PD (who works on these fraud cases) to chime in on this post with additional tips! ~j



Saving you Money..

The latest Hometown Values Coupon Magazine just hit your mailboxes this week! Subway, Zeek's, Mezcal Grill- lots of good ones in there.  You can also grab these deals online

And while you are out there around town spending and using your credit card, remember to use credit (not debit) and keep a close eye on your statements.  Detective Don Carroll of the Kirkland PD and I got to chat with King 5 last week about card skimming.  Beware of the pumps at the Houghton Shell station. The bad guys are getting very clever about obtaining credit card numbers without you ever knowing it! ~j

Coyote Creek Closes Kirkland location

We sure have lots of Coyote Creek Pizza fans out there!  I've been getting many comments and notes about the presently dark and empty downtown restaurant at 228 Central Way. Yes, it's true they closed their Kirkland location when the lease was up in December, but if you are still craving a Coyote Kitchen Sink pizza or maybe a spinach twist calzone, the Redmond Ridge location is OPEN. So be sure to stop in and say hello. Thank you to Coyote Creek for your years here in Kirkland- you will be missed! ~j

Jimmy John's Heading to Kirkland

Did the giant photos of big tasty subs all over the windows get you curious??  Initial scoop is that we will be welcoming a Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches to Central Way (right next to Sur La Table). It's a franchise and there are others on the eastside and Seattle area.  I've never been to one, but heard they can make a really mean sandwich. And I think they even deliver.  Amen. I've been waiting for a good quick sandwich joint in downtown.  Let us know if you've eaten at one before so we know what we have to look forward to.  They should open in about 8 weeks! ~j