Howard County's Office of Consumer Affairs unveiled an online tool for residents to learn about scams. A new webpage, Scam Alert, includes a list of recent scams, tips for identifying scams, and a tool for reporting scams to county officials.

The site is howardcountymd.gov/scamalert.htm.

Officials said county residents have been the victims of several scams this year, including one in which a caller claims to be from Microsoft and asks for access to residents' computers to conduct a security scan. Other common scams include door-to-door salesmen who don't provide services as promised, and another phone scam in which the caller claims to be a tax agent, and tells residents they owe for back taxes and will be arrested if they don't pay immediately.

The reporting tool on the webpage allows residents to alert one another to new scams, officials said. The county will pass on residents' reports to federal law enforcement, according to a county press release.