BBB Touts ‘ScamTracker’ at Annual Meeting

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An online tool the national Better Business Bureau introduced last year for victims to report scams allows them to become heroes, Carol Potter said Wednesday at the Covelli Centre.

Potter, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, shared information on ScamTracker among other items during the annual meeting of the local BBB.

ScamTracker, which the BBB introduced last year, allows users to report scams online and the BBB to track the data in “a meaningful way,” Potter said.

“The results have been remarkable,” she added. “In just the past 12 months throughout the system, over 33,000 scams have been tracked and reported on with a total loss of $43 million, just through this tool. So the value is the information collected provides a window on the scam landscape.”

The collected data are shared with local communities as well as law enforcement. “ScamTracker taps into the public’s desire to help,” she said. “Victims become heroes.”

Underreporting is “the big issue” for scams, Potter said. Studies have shown that just one in 17 companies or individuals who have been scammed report it. “The scammers count on this,” she said.

Victims of scams are rarely willing to discuss them, said Melissa Ames, vice president of BBB services for the local chapter. “They might be embarrassed by it or just not sure where to go to or who to report the scam to,” she said. “In some cases, people may not have realized they have been a victim of a scam.”

The Internal Revenue Service/Treasury Department scam is the most prevalent in the Youngstown area. “We probably got 2,000 calls in the last month just on that,” she said.

Potter also reported that the local BBB has a retention rate of 92.6%, the highest among the eight BBB chapters in Ohio and the fourth-highest in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“One thing we do at our BBB locally is that from the very beginning we establish a relationship with each business. We meet face to face. We try to use an approach where we learn about the business and then how we can assist them to succeed,” she said. The BBB torch “embodies the elements of integrity and trust and excellence that businesses here are happy to embrace,” Potter said.

Some 217,000 reviews of businesses in the Mahoning Valley businesses were received, an increase of 10,000 or 5% from last year, she said.

During the meeting, Terry DiMascio’s final meeting as chairman, members approved incoming slate of officers. Officers for the 2017-2018-term are:

  • Thomas Duncan, Duncan Kitchen & Bath, chairman.
  • Ed Muransky, The Muransky Companies, vice chairman.
  • John Burgan, Burgan Real Estate Ltd., vice chairman.
  • Eric Ryan, Covelli Centre, treasurer.
  • Becky Dearing Wall, Dearing Compressor & Pump Co., secretary.
  • DiMascio, Aim NationaLease, immediate past chairman

Renamed as directors for the 2017-2020 term are David Coy, WKBN-TV/WYTV, and Andy Detesco, James & Sons Insurance. New directors elected to three-year terms are Penny Traina, executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority, and Alexa Sweeney Blackann, Sweeney Auto Group.

Pictured: Among BBB staff members are Georgene Mummey, Carol Potter, Darlene Burkey, Melissa Ames and Missy Vargas.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.