BBB Serving North Central Texas has received thousands of desperate cries for help from terrified scammers since the inception of BBB Scam Tracker, an online tool that helps scam-savvy people investigate and warn others about potential scams.
“It’s getting too hard to do this anymore,” says a reformed scammer named Ima Heister. “Informed consumers, doing their homework, are catching too many of us in the act.”
Providing information for the U.S. and Canada, BBB Scam Tracker allows you to see recent fraud reports filed by conscious consumer heroes. You can use the tool to zoom into your zip code, to see what scams are active in your backyard. You can search by date, country or keyword – and read a description of what transpired.
It quickly became evident to BBB, after two years of monitoring Scam Tracker, that the fraudsters needed a way out. “We call our new propriety treatment methods ‘self-regulation’ for scammers,” says the Rehab Center’s new Program Director, Rhett Phlagg. “We are doing our part to encourage former scammers to turn over a new leaf.”
Happy April Fools' Day!
No. We haven’t started a rehabilitation center for scammers. BBB|NCTX wishes that that we could rehabilitate every scammer and cybercriminal in town. However, it is wishful thinking to hope that fraudsters would ever voluntarily throw in the towel.
According to the 2016 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec discovered more than 430 million new unique pieces of malware in 2015, up 36 percent from 2014. This Internet Security Threat Report suggests that an astounding 191 million records were exposed in 2015. BBB has also received reports of over 65,000 scams since Scam Tracker was launched in 2015, many of which involve deceptive use of technology. At least 9,100 of the scams reported to BBB, to date, appear to involve phishing.
Accordingly, BBB encourages consumers to do their part. Protect and educate yourself, so that the April Fools' Day joke is not on you. Take steps to actively protect yourself and others by visiting BBB Scam Tracker today for more information.
Here are a few tips:
(1) First and foremost, BEWARE of click bait! Have you ever found yourself clicking on unbelievably enticing headlines without thinking? Take your time to look for red flags before you click on potentially malicious links online or in emails.
(2) Learn to spot phishing emails. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of using emails purporting to be from reputable sources in order to induce you to share personal information, such as passwords and bank account numbers. Be very suspicious of links shared via email, especially if they appear urgent, duplicate the name of a real business, or promote free items or gifts.
(3) Periodically check your accounts. Visit your accounts and change passwords regularly. If you have reason to believe that you’ve been the victim of a phishing attempt, run virus software immediately and notify your banks.
(4) Turn in the scammers. Finally, warn others by providing information to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.