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BBB launches new 'scam tracker' website

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At first, Judy Kay Burfield was excited to get a phone call from a man offering a financial deal she felt she could not pass up. "I get this phone call that 'you qualify for a free grant and you're going to get $5,000 for this free grant.'"

A free grant? Sounds great, but that's just one trick scammers use to target residents throughout the Valley. Others tricks have included one where a Valley family was duped with fake Taylor Swift concert tickets.

We've also seen fake websites and debt collection schemes and many, many more.

Edward Antolik says he got a phone call demanding money.

“In the beginning I thought it was very legit. I was scared. I started to tear up. Even was shaking a little bit," he says.

The IRS scam is another scheme that 3 On Your Side has exposed in the past. It works when a crook calls you impersonating an IRS agent and tells you an arrest warrant will be issued if you don't forward a large lump sum of cash right away.

But when it comes to the IRS scam, grant scam and all the other scams, there's a new tool to help combat the fraud. "We have something called BBB scam tracker, and it's basically an interactive online tool where consumers can go and report scams." 

The Better Business Bureau scam tracker is designed to help consumers across the country from becoming a victim.

Here's how it works. You go online to the BBB interactive map and click on your state. You can then see an up-to-date list of common scams reported in that area.

You can then click on an item within the list to get more information about a particular scam. Felicia Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau. "When you submit the information there is someone from the BBB who reviews that to make sure you haven't put your name or social security number or anything like that," she says.

Besides discovering what scams are active in different areas, Thompson says it goes a step further. "It's broken down by zip codes so you can zoom in to your city or your neighborhood to see what your neighbors, families and friends are reporting to us."

Far too often, 3 On Your Side has reported on people who've been swindled by a crook, but the Better Business Bureau hopes this new tool might be able to give consumers a fighting chance. "It's user-generated content. It's people who've actually been in contact with the alleged scammer or someone who received an email or mail and they have the items in hand and they've experienced it first-hand so that's the great thing.It's not second hand information."

Below is a link to the BBB Scam tracker website (please note it may take a few seconds for the site to load.)

https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/phoenix

Copyright 2015 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
 

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