In an effort to prevent the spread of online scams and improve protect your identity for consumers, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has launched a free online resource that allows its users to both track and report malicious activity and fraud on the Internet. The “Scam Tracker” is now being used by all 12 bureaus in both Canada and the United States to gather information from consumers about fraudulent activity that will be given to law enforcement to help identify and prosecute scammers.
The Scam Tracker is an interactive tool designed as a heat map that shows users where suspicious activity is being reported. Consumers are able to sift through the reported scams by different filters such as location or type, which can help them find out which scams have targeted their area or to look for particular kinds that they may have encountered. Users can even track information like how much money has been lost due to online fraud. All of this data comes from complaints submitted by consumers, whether they’re scams they’ve heard of or have actually fallen victim to themselves.
Prior to launching the Scam Tracker, BBB was already processing almost a million complaints a year against businesses but found that there was little the bureau could do to rectify the situations brought to its attention. That’s when BBB designed the Scam Tracker to collect the information in a way that would be useful to law enforcement.
“BBB has always been able to track specific information about businesses as part of the complaint process, and that procedure continues to evolve and grow, with nearly five million BBB Business Reviews,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO, in a press release. “Scammers are differen,t they hone their techniques as they leave a trail of victims. As a crowd sourced tool with a human touch, BBB Scam Tracker exposes their fraudulent activity in real time.”
The reports from the Scam Tracker are currently being sent to National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) that will analyze the data and work with other law enforcement agencies to put an end to the most menacing cases they find. The Scam Tracker reports will also be sent out in tips and alerts by BBB for media purposes in order to further inform the public.
Among all the available tools to help you prevent identity theft, one of the most important is a credit monitoring service. Investing in a credit monitoring service can notify you of certain activity that may indicate fraud, which can empower you to take action and give you peace of mind knowing that you’re taking steps to protect your identity.