Wisconsin BBB, Western Union launch "Scam Stopper" website

MILWAUKEE -- Scammers stole $1.5 billion from consumers last year! Now, two organizations are coming together in Wisconsin to try to put a stop to these thefts.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau and Western Union have teamed up to create a website called "Scam Stopper." It's a one-stop-shop with information on a variety of scams and how they're used to dupe people into wiring money overseas.

Contact 6 met a 19-year-old student who needed an $8,000 loan. He was told he had to pay taxes on the loan, so he sent hundreds of dollars overseas through Western Union. As it turned out -- it was a scam!

This student is hardly the first person to get tricked into sending money to scammers through Western Union. Wisconsin Better Business Bureau President Ran Hoth says Western Union has had enough.

"When you become a brand, and a scammer drops that brand name, you think well, it must be legitimate, and it's too good to be true.  The amount of money that's being wired out of this country is just horrendous," Hoth said.

Shelley Bernhardt of Western Union says she hopes this teamwork and consumer education can help put an end to these scams.

"They make it sound so real and they play on the emotions.  If you look at the 'Grandparent Scam,' it's playing on that emotion that you want to help somebody because who wouldn't want to help a family member?  Or the lottery -- they're playing on the emotions that you want to win money and who wouldn't want to win that money?  They're very good at playing on that emotion and making the situation seem very, very real," Bernhardt said.

CLICK HERE to visit the new "Scam Stopper website." Those without computer access can contact the Better Business Bureau by phone with any questions abut this partnership or scams -- at (414) 847-6000.