(WWBT) - Emails, phone calls, mail, social media: Tom Gallagher with the Better Business Bureau says crooks have ways of targeting you.
"The bad guys are going to find a way to get us. It is up to us to put the block up, so that we can stop it and be prepared for it," he says.
Gallagher is putting action behind his words. The BBB created a new consumer protection tool on its site called Scam Tracker. This new tool is simple to use and as the name says, it tracks scams. No matter where you live, if fraudsters are operating in your area, you can find out about it.
For example, we live in Virginia. So, you would go the BBB's Scam Tracker section, put in your state and the scheme type. Not only can you read about fraud in your area, you can also report it.
"As the Better Business Bureau, I look at it as like an academic experience. As a consumer, I'd look at it as a safety experience," Gallagher explains.
We searched the Scam Tracker and in our area, a common complaint is IRS scams. You know the ones we've warned you about, where crooks email or call claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, attempting to get your money and personal information. Remember, the IRS doesn't randomly call consumers.
"There aren't any new scams, there are a couple new names and couple of new colors... but the scams are the same," Gallagher says.
The BBB says keep in mind, Scam Tracker is separate from its business review system, which tracks consumer complaints.
"It's not connected to business reviews, it is connected to scams. I don't know that any company names will be used, it would be related to what the scam is all about," he says.
The new tool is designed to keep you one step ahead of criminals but remember, if you know about it, so do the crooks.
"The criminals are remarkably good at doing what they do. I have no doubt that they will be able to take information and twist it and turn it somehow," Gallagher says.
Not all scams will make it on the list... but the more you know, the better protected you are.
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