Fake Complaints

computer hacker 150x150 Fake ComplaintsIn the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Scammers know this too. For years, fake emails have been circulating claiming that businesses have a BBB complaint—when they don’t. The purpose is to get you to click a link that installs malware on your computer.

Just this week the Federal Trade Commission put out a press release warning of a fake email about your company’s “FTC complaint.” These bogus emails sometimes purport to come from the IRS, your state Department of Transportation (DOT) or Department of Justice (DOJ).

What to do: Don’t panic.

1) Don’t click any links in an email from an unknown sender.

2) Look at the email address. Is it coming from .org or .gov? Are there a bunch of gobbledygook letters? (While email addresses can be spoofed, an email from the BBB serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana, for example, should come from spokane.bbb.org. just like our website. FTC email would probably come from ftc.gov, like their website.)

3) Look up contact information for the organization (don’t use anything listed in the email). Call, fax, write, or email the organization to see if you really do have a complaint. This will also alert them to the scam if you don’t.

While complaint handling processes can vary across regional BBB offices, this overview may be helpful to keep in mind:

The BBB serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana DOES send legitimate complaint notices via email and USPS mail. If the initial notice (sent via email if possible) is not answered, it is followed up by a phone call or a letter. If there’s no response we may send you a certified letter to confirm receipt. You may call our office at any time to inquire about complaints and/or compliments via customer reviews.

Resources: The federal government has created a website to help you and your business stay secure online. Find out more about how to protect your system from malware and steps to take if you think your computer is infected.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.