BBB launches "Scam Tracker" online tool to help consumers avoid - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

BBB launches "Scam Tracker" online tool to help consumers avoid losses

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KENNEWICK, WA. -- We all get them, whether it's a call from a strange number you don't know or an email from someone promising you riches from an exotic country, they're scams.

But now, with a new online tool developed by the Better Business Bureau, you can report these scams and find out others hitting your local area before you become a victim. 

It's called the "scam tracker" and it's revolutionizing the way consumers protect themselves.

"So if there's a scam in your neighborhood, someone inputs it, you're able to zoom in, literally zoom in in real time and find scams that pop up," David Quinlan from the BBB said. "We use a heat map where it's populated by people who input scams that are happening."

According to the map, the Pacific Northwest is one of the most popular regions for scams in the country. The tracker was developed in our region to give consumers an extra layer of protection over scams that are continually evolving using new online tools. 

Even if you don't lose any money in a scam, simply reporting it can either help people become more aware, or alert law enforcement to a continuing problem in the region. 

"This is a tool that gives people a little bit more of an edge on the technology side," Quinlan said. "So that they know that certain types of scams are happening in their area."

It's been less than a year since the scam tracker was launched online and already people have reported more than 27,000 scams around the United States. 

"This tool is only effective because people are using it," Quinlan said. "It's very difficult to get that money back. So this is a preventative tool. This is really designed to help people and educate people about scams that are happening in our are before it happens to them."

Next time you hang up from that strange call and don't know what to do, log on to https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/ and file a report.

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