As a BBB employee, I received a complaint email from a coworker. Does this mean my coworker has a grievance against me? Highly doubtful! Someone had “spoofed” her email address and had sent this complaint email from her to several other people.
Unfortunately, this happens all of the time and to several organizations and individuals, i.e. the FBI, IRS, your bank, internet service provider, best friend, etc. An email account does not necessarily have to be compromised for this to happen. It can be forged!!! Then, with the forged email address, fake emails can be sent out. You could receive an email notifying you of an account past due, a security breach or a complaint against your company. The person responsible for the email will encourage you to click on a link or open an attachment. That is where your troubles begin! What you thought was a legitimate email is actually a hacker after your information! A virus seizes your computer or something even more deceptive occurs. A seemingly legitimate website pops up to fool you even further into providing personal information. Even for someone with a trained eye in Internet or email misbehavior, if caught off guard, these scams can reel them in.
What can you do to ensure you don’t take the bite? Do you simply stop trusting all emails that have attachments or URL links included in the letter head? Good antivirus protection is a necessity, although they do not prevent spoofed emails from dropping into your inbox. Spam filters will generally catch malware, although cyber-cons are always looking for ways to break through the latest antivirus-protection. Your best defense in these uncertain times is the good, old-fashioned picking up the phone and calling the source (legitimate company) of the email. Don’t call the number listed in your email. Instead, call the business whose name is being used wrongfully. A word of caution: if a scammer went out of his/her way to create a website with phone numbers, etc., an internet search is not completely reliable.
Scammers are not going to ever stop their dirty work. Close vigilance by all is of utmost importance. If you have any questions, concerns or issues with an email that you have received, the best place to start would be with your Internet service provider. Spam email should be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Certainly, if you are trying to determine whether a business, opportunity, etc. are legitimate, please contact your local BBB. We are armed with information and ready to assist!
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