FOX19 Investigates: How to detect a scam

FOX19 Investigates: How to detect a scam

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A few weeks ago, a FOX19 National Sales Manager called a crook's bluff.

"I checked the voicemail and it gave me an 888 number. It said that I was delinquent on a credit card payment," said Amy Goetz.

Goetz says she pays everything on time so she thought it was odd. Someone once stole her credit card information so she decided to do some homework before calling back. When she finally called back, she grew more suspicious.

"It was bounced around from, you know, please hold while we contact that number bounced around. Five minutes! This isn't how a credit bureau would act. They would pick it up. Especially if they were calling to collect debt from you," she said.

Experts say she's right. Goetz did not give her information and never heard from the company again. Experts say that's one of the recent methods crooks are using to try to get you to give up your personal information including your address, checking account and even credit card numbers.

"Awareness is how to prevent victims and awareness is how to fight scams," said Commissioner Greg Hartmann. It's why he created a coalition to stop fraud, scams and abuse several years ago.

"I used to be a prosecutor and we prosecute the bad guys once they victimize people, but the best defense is having people educated as to what's going on out there," he said.

Sorin Mihailovici says he also found out the hard way. His best friend became a victim of the Nigerian scam in 2008 losing $30,000.

He made a short film about the scam and then took 10 months to research others, compiling the information in a website and an app dubbing both the Scam Detector.

"We went to online complaint boards, police website, news articles and we gathered all the scams," he said. "We wrote them in a way it's easy for everybody from grandparents to kids can understand and get them to educate themselves about how the scams work."

The app educates consumers about 500 plus scams out there. They're divided into five categories including auto, face-to-face, Internet, telephone and travel. It's been downloaded in 104 countries and boasts a membership of 2,000,000 users.

The Better Business Bureau is currently an official partner. Partnerships with the National Sheriff's Association and National Crime Prevention Council are in the works. Commissioner Hartmann says everyone should take note.

"The most vulnerable are still the most victimized, the elderly, the handicapped. Those are the crimes that make you the most upset, but criminals target the weak. But they also target people who think they know better," said Hartmann.

If you want more information on the app, you can visit the Scam Detector website.

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