BBB tracker helps consumers avoid being scammed

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Better Business Bureau has made it easier to find out who’s been naughty or nice this year with the BBB Scam Tracker.

The BBB Scam Tracker was designed to provide consumers across North America a place to report fraud and to warn others of malicious or suspicious activities.

Over 100 BBBs operating in Canada and the United States are now collecting information from consumers and processing data, which is shared with law enforcement agencies in order to identify and prosecute scammers.

BBB also helps consumers connect with businesses they trust and warns them about dishonest practices.

The bureau 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.

Scammers are different – 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 free interactive online tool – found at – offers a heat map showing where scams are being reported. Users can use various filters to search for what scams are happening in their area, track a particular type of scam, or even see how much money has been lost.

Users can also report scams they hear about, whether or not they have fallen victim.

BBB processes nearly a million complaints a year against legitimate businesses, but perpetrators of scams are not interested in resolving matters, even if they could be located.

The data collection process for the BBB Scam Tracker was designed to generate information that can be useful to law enforcement.

Scam reports are being sent to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) for analysis and collaboration with law enforcement to help stop the most flagrant scammers through prosecution and other legal means.

Trackers also routinely share information on scams with federal, state and provincial agencies, and local law enforcement, and will make the data available to agencies in other countries to help shut down scammers based overseas.

In addition, tracker reports will also prompt BBB tips and alerts, or serve as the basis for investigations, news releases, warnings and trends analysis.

BBB Scam Tracker began in 2014 as an innovative test among nine local BBBs. A grant from Target Corporation enabled CBBB to expand the service to all BBBs in Canada and the U.S. BBB Mexico is expected to join in the future.

In 2012, two local BBBs – one in Edmonton, Alberta, and one in Las Vegas, Nevada – were credited with helping bring down Jesse Willms, the notorious fraudster who bilked more than four million people.

The BBB Scam Tracker also received a Gold Award from The American Society of Association Executives at its annual Summit Awards ,the second highest “Power of A” award from ASAE.

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