An App That Helps You Avoid Scams

This free smart-phone application provides information on more than 550 scams worldwide.

You get a letter stating that your bank has moved your home loan to another servicing company. The letter looks official and there's a number you can call for more information. You contemplate calling, but you're worried that it might be a scam. There's an easy way to find out if it actually is.

You can go to the Scam Detector site or download the free iPhone app for information about more than 550 scams worldwide. An Android version of the app will be available July 11.

Scam Detector makes it easy to search for scams by category: auto, face-to-face, Internet, telephone and travel. When you click on a category, you'll get a list of scams, with detailed information about each one and tips on how to avoid it. You also can submit a scam. And if you're a victim of a scam, you can use the app to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

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Scam Detector also partners with the Better Business Bureau to provide a weekly list on its site of the top ten scams. Sorin Mihailovici, founder of Scam Detector, says that he is working to implement the weekly top-ten list on the app soon.

Mihailovici created Scam Detector, which is based in Alberta, Canada, because his best friend lost $30,000 to Nigerian scammers. They offered Mihailovici's friend a chance to invest in a project, flew him to Amsterdam for a "world partners" meeting, squeezed as much money out of him as they could over an eight-month period then cut off communication with him. After the incident, Mihailovici wanted to help others avoid becoming victims. He launched the app in 2011, and it has 2 million users worldwide.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.