Fake Better Business Bureau complaint e-mails are scams phishing for personal, corporate information

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(A warning from the Better Business Bureau)                                                 



Chicago, IL -  An email scam using the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) name and logo continues to proliferate across North America, and even to some overseas addresses. Most of the emails carry the well-known BBB torch logo and may come with the subject line “Complaint from your customers.” The emails have a link or an attachment containing malicious phishing malware that steals information, often with devastating results to businesses and private citizens.


“While the Internet has many benefits; misrepresentations and scams like this are one of the ugly features of the Internet,” stated Steve Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.


Because of experiences such as this one, the BBB has updated its advice and recommends the following to anyone who receives the email:

  • Do not open any attachments.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Delete the email from your inbox, and then delete it again from your trash or recycling folder.
  • Run a full system scan using reputable virus software.

Due to the virulent nature of the virus, the recommendation is for everyone who receives it to do the scan. In offices or homes that are networked, all computers should be scanned.


Bernas noted that the disgusting element of this scam is that the perpetrators are likely targeting businesses, individuals and other organizations that combat this type of activity.


“This scam is unusual in that it is very wide ranging and continuing,” explained Bernas. “The BBB national office is working with federal law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrator of this fraud, and is also looking into other measures it can take to help prevent future phishing scams from spreading.”


If you receive an email saying your business has a complaint filed against it with BBB, there are several things you can do to determine if it is a fake notification:

  • Look for typos, grammatical errors, etc. in the text that could indicate it originated overseas.
  • Check to see who it says is the sender. Authentic BBB complaints go out from the local BBBs, not from the headquarters office.
  • Hover your mouse over the link to see if its destination is really a bbb.org address.
  • Copy and paste the link into Notepad (not Word). Notepad does not support html, so if the link is a fake bbb.org address, the real link will show up.
  • If you still are not sure, go to www.bbb.org to find your local BBB, and send them a new email to ask if you have a complaint (do not Reply to the email you received, or forward it to them). They have been swamped with requests, so you may not hear back immediately.

Chris Garver, Chief Information Officer at the Council of Better Business Bureaus, recommends that all domain owners set up a sender policy framework (SPF) and set their spam filter to use it. “Using the SPF standard helps fight spam and phishing attacks by allowing your email servers to verify whether an email is legitimate…or not,” he says.


Microsoft offers a simple, four-step process for setting up an SPF: www.microsoft.com/mscorp/safety/content/technologies/senderid/wizard/


For more consumer safety tips, visit www.bbb.org 


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