New ‘Scam Tracker’ tool can help you avoid being scammed

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As scammers become more sophisticated and continue to infiltrate more areas of American life, the Better Business Bureau is helping you fight back!

The BBB has launched a new tool called the ‘Scam Tracker,’ a program aimed at preventing consumers from being scammed.

How the Scam Tracker works

The Scam Tracker documents reported scams and ripoffs across the U.S. and presents them in a map format for consumers to see what hoaxes have been reported in their area. The tool tracks everything from credit card and charity scams to fake lotteries.

If consumers get a suspicious email or phone call, they can use the tool to see if other people have experienced the same type of situation.

“Scams have been around forever, but with the advent of technology they`ve exploded,” Better Business Bureau President Mary Power said. “We`re now using technology to catch the scammers.”

Read more: Top 15 scams to watch out for

Users can search using a variety of filters to see what scams are happening in their area, or track a particular type of scam, or even see how much money has been lost. Users can also report scams that they hear about, whether or not they have fallen victim.

According to the BBB, consumers can use the tool to:

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  • See what scams are happening in their area.
  • Track a particular type of scam.
  • See how much money has been lost to particular scams.
  • Report scams they hear about, whether or not they have fallen victim.

The BBB says the Scam Tracker will also prompt tips and alerts the group can send out to consumers.

Read more: Beware of the one ring phone scam

Tips to avoid popular scams

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you avoid some popular ongoing scams:

  • Be wary of unexpected emails containing links or attachments: If you receive an unexpected email claiming to be from your bank or other company that has your personal information, don’t click on any of the links or attachments. It could be a scam. Instead, log in to your account separately to check for any new notices.
     
  • Call the company directly: If you aren’t sure whether an email notice is legit, call the company directly about the information sent via email to find out if it is real and/or if there is any urgent information you should know about.
     
  • Look out for grammar and spelling errors: Scam emails often contain typos and other errors — which is a big red flag that it probably didn’t come from a legitimate source.
     
  • Never respond to a text message from a number you don’t recognize: This could also make any information stored in your phone vulnerable to hackers. Do some research to find out who and where the text came from. 
     
  • Don’t call back unknown numbers: If you get a missed call on your cell phone from a number you don’t recognize, don’t call it back. Here’s what you need to know about this phone scam.

For basic protection, use anti-virus and anti-malware software and keep it up to date. See Clark’s Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide for links to free options.



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