Axios Seattle

Picture of the Seattle skyline.

It's Friday, and spring is just around the corner!

🌧 Today's weather: Cloudy and rainy. High near 44.

Situational awareness: Higher toll rates kick in today for solo drivers in the carpool lanes on I-405 and SR-167. Read more.

Today's newsletter is 956 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Washington's getting scammed

Illustration of a fishing hook sinking into an ocean of hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Washingtonians lost nearly $250 million to fraud in 2023, according to a new Federal Trade Commission report.

Why it matters: Americans lost a record $10 billion to fraudsters in 2023, with no group — young, old, even computer-savvy — showing immunity to the evolving and increasingly sophisticated scams, according to the FTC and other consumer protection groups.

  • In fact, over the last few years, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers were 86% more likely to report losing money to online shopping scams than older adults, per the FTC.

By the numbers: More than 53,000 fraud reports were filed by Washington residents, according to the FTC.

  • The median loss per victim was about $500, per the FTC.

Zoom in: The most common types of scams reported in Washington were impostor scams, identity theft, online shopping and review fraud and loan frauds.

  • Impostor scams, which can include romance scams, occur when a person is tricked into sending money, usually via wire transfer or gift card, by someone claiming to be someone else, according to the Better Business Bureau.
  • With loan fraud and mortgage and foreclosure fraud, phony lenders guarantee a quick loan or fast fix with no upfront fees. But victims who provide their Social Security and banking information are left in the lurch, per the BBB and the state attorney general's office.

What they're saying: People of all ages, demographics and educational backgrounds can become victims, per the AARP.

  • "Given the right criminal interacting with the right person at the right time, anyone can lose money to fraud," Jason Erskine, a spokesperson for AARP Washington, told Axios.

The bottom line: Be wary! Never send money to someone you don't know, per the BBB.

  • Dale Dixon, BBB Great West + Pacific's chief innovation officer, told Axios it's critical for consumers to do research to confirm the track record of companies before buying.
  • Never give out financial information on the phone (or via text). Avoid unsolicited loan offers and remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Go deeper

2. Charted: Our cold streaks are getting shorter

Longest streak of cold winter days in Seattle
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

High temperatures in Seattle may be a few degrees below average right now, but data shows our winter cold snaps aren't lasting as long as in past decades.

By the numbers: Cold weather streaks in Seattle have gotten four days shorter on average since 1970, per a new analysis from Climate Central, a climate research and communications nonprofit.

Why it matters: Few people love chilled-to-the-bone cold snaps, but extended periods of chilly weather are key for some farmers and winter sports lovers, and for building essential snowpack, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Reality check: Prolonged cold snaps still happen; Seattle's longest of 2023 lasted 13 days.

Flashback: The city's longest cold streak between 1970 and 2023 came in 1988, lasting 33 days.

The fine print: Climate Central defines a "winter cold streak" as "at least two consecutive December–February days with average temperatures below the 1991–2020 winter normal average temperature" at a given location.

The big picture: Cold streaks are largely getting shorter on average nationwide, per the recent Climate Central report.

Read more

3. Morning Buzz: Gaming layoffs

Illustration of the Axios logo behind Mt. Rainier.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

🎮 A new wave of layoffs at video game company Electronic Arts will impact the Pacific Northwest, starting with the closure of a Seattle game studio led by "Halo" co-creator Marcus Lehto. (GeekWire)

🏞️ City workers this week removed a cabin built in the middle of Seattle's Jose Rizal Park by an unhoused person, who had earlier used an excavator to remove trees and clear the land for construction. (KOMO)

4. Weekend events, including Comic Con

Five women in black and green cosplay gear stand on a rooftop with their arms up in fighting poses.
Cosplayers attend Emerald City Comic Con at the Seattle Convention Center on March 5, 2023. Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

If you're looking for something to get you out of the house this weekend, we have a few ideas.

🦸 Don your favorite cosplay gear for Emerald City Comic Con, which takes over the Seattle Convention Center through Sunday. Tickets are still available for today and Sunday at $77 per day.

👓 Bust out your horn-rimmed glasses for "Not Fade Away — A Tribute to Buddy Holly" at the Triple Door tomorrow.

⚽ Join other Sounders FC fans at March to the Match, where you can cheer for the home team and march en masse to the stadium.

  • Event starts at Occidental Park at 6pm, 90 minutes before tomorrow's home opener against Austin FC.

⛴️ Take the ferry to Whidbey Island for the Penn Cove Musselfest in Coupeville, which celebrates the area's famed mollusks.

  • Features live music, beer gardens, food vendors, cooking demonstrations, kids activities and more. Tomorrow and Sunday.

🎶 Grow your vinyl collection at the Northwest Record Show, where you can browse 50 tables of LPs, CDs and music memorabilia. Seattle Center Armory Food Court, 10am–5pm Sunday.

Two more

5. Ferry to pizza at Bruciato on Bainbridge

A pizza with puffed and blistered crust and dobs of buffalo mozzerella and whole basil leaves on a red sauce, sitting on a white plate on a wood table.

The Margherita DOC at Bruciato. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

👋 Melissa here. I was bummed recently about the closure of Bar Solea, Brendan McGill's trattoria on the edge of Pioneer Square, which I thought made some of the city's best pizza.

So I decided to board the ferry a few weeks ago to check out McGill's other pizzeria on Bainbridge Island, Bruciato, which focuses on Neapolitan-style pies.

The vibe: The place is romantic enough for a date night, but also not so stuffy that you can't bring your carb-loving kid (which I did).

Best bites: I loved the Margherita DOC pizza here, which I always order as a test of a Neapolitan pizza joint.

  • This minimalist pie with buffalo mozzarella and basil should be somewhat soft in the middle, with some blackened spots on the crust — but not to the point that you're tasting burned dough.
  • Bruciato gets it right, adhering to the laws of Naples pizza (which are very specific) to a T.
  • The result: a lighter type of pie that a single person can easily devour.

If you go: The pizza is served whole, with scissors provided to cut slices for sharing.

More things to try

🎂 Melissa is pleasantly surprised at how many people are planning to attend her kid's fourth birthday party this weekend (almost 40!?) but also needs to go get more cake.

😜 Clarridge is trying to get back in the groove with some healthier eating habits.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Egan Millard.