New app works to steer users away from scams

It's something 7 On Your Side hears all the time -- victims of fraud can't believe they fell for a scam. Now there's something available at your fingertips that just might make a difference.

Each year 50,000 people worldwide are victimized by the Nigerian scam alone. Sorin Mihailovici decided to do something it, "One of my best friends got victimized about six years ago. He lost about $30,000."

Mihailovici produced an internet movie in 2008 that became a viral sensation, generating a million views. The award winning 20 minute docu-drama "419, The Nigerian Scam," was produced with an all-volunteer crew and a budget of $180. His hope was that the movie would educate consumers. It became so successful that the sequel is now out in the form of a new app, the Scam Detector.

The free app includes a list of every scam Mihailovici could find in the hopes of scam-proofing his users, "So let's say somebody approaches you with an offer of being mystery shopper. You open the app and type mystery or mystery shopper and the scam comes up."

To help us test Scam Detector, we contacted Eve Edelson, the author of "Scam o Rama, Turning the Tables on e-mail Scammers." She's been writing about scams for about 10 years, "They come up with a lot of different subject lines and so you're very likely to find the subject line descriptive of the scam scenario you're running into," Edelson said.

She's particularly impressed that scam detector has partnered with Edmonton's Better Business Bureau. Scam Detector hopes to expand that partnership to BBB's across North America, "With the aid of the Better Business Bureau to publicize them, they will have a lot of reach," Edelson said. "And as I say whoever they help, it's gonna mean the world to that person."

Edelson, however, does caution that she doesn't agree with all the advice Scam Detector offers, noting, "Its breath exceeds its grasp."

Mihailovici admits it's nearly impossible to keep up with every scam in the world. But says he's not going to stop trying, "Nowadays with technology the way it goes, it's so much easier for them to create new opportunities for themselves. It's my job to actually find it in time and provide it to the world."

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