Monday, June 13, 2011
Local man creates anti-scam iPhone application
An Edmonton man has created an iPhone application that he hopes will help prevent people from falling victim to scams. Sorin Mihailovici says his app, Scam Detector, reveals in detail over 350 of the most common scams world-wide.
He says he wanted to create something that would help educate people about entering into deals with people who are looking to take advantage. “The advancement in technology makes it so easy to get sucked into a scam,” he said. “Every second day I get phone calls from telemarketers. I’m sure they’re nice people, but some are scams.”
Mihailovici says the idea for the app was spawned from his movie 419: The Nigerian Scam, which he created as a final project for the Motion Image program at Grant MacEwan in 2008. The film was a dramatization based on true events, after his close friend lost his life savings to the Nigerian Scam. Surprisingly, he says, the film took off and garnered more than a million views on his website. He says since the film’s launch, he’s gotten emails from people all over the world.
“With the advancement of technology, some of the emails were inquiring if there was an app to tell people about scams.” he said. Mihailovici says he is no computer expert and had no clue on how to build an application. It was hard, I bought seven or eight books and I started to teach myself, he says. He says he separated scams into nine categories, including auto, telephone, travel and Internet. Users can navigate the menu to learn about various scams or they can search key words to find information on a specific fraud.
The Pro version of the application, will cost users $1.99US -- but it will give them access to information on over 350 scams. A Lite version will also be available for free, but will list fewer descriptions. Mihailovici, who works as Community Liason for OMNI Television, says at this point he doesn’t have any plans for further applications. “I didn’t make it to be a millionaire,” he says. “But who knows, everything changes so fast. Maybe I could make another one, depending on the success of this one.” The application will be available in the Apple App Store Tuesday. Versions of the application for Android and the iPad are expected to be released in the coming weeks.