Beware of Phishing Attempts

September 16, 2008

Phishing Attempts on the Rise

September 16, 2008The BBB is issuing a warning about a recent increase in phishing attempts sent to both individuals and businesses in the Mid-South. Some recent examples:

  • A BBB Accredited Business located in Memphis recently received a fax purporting to be from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT)
    • The faxed letter advises that although the business is currently registered as a prospective contractor for procurements issued by the USDOT, they had not submitted the required financial information release form, which would prevent them from obtaining government contracts.
    • The letter, accompanied by a financial information release form, was signed by a “Senior Procurement Officer, USDOT.”
    • According to the USDOT,, financial information is not required to be submitted in order to be eligible for procurement.

  • Randy Hutchinson, President, BBB of the Mid-South, saw an increase in the amount of phishing emails he received in the past week.
    • Hutchinson received 8 phishing emails last week, supposedly from 7 different financial institutions.
    • All of the emails were requesting verification of personal financial information by clicking a link provided in the email.

The BBB advises that the best protection against phishing scams is knowledge and vigilance. Scammers often use real company, financial institution or government agency names to add legitimacy to the scams. Past phishing scams have used the names of the IRS, FBI, and even the BBB.

Residents and small businesses are encouraged to take a key step in identity protection by attending BBB’s free, on-site shredding event on Saturday, September 20, 2008 from 9:00 am to Noon at the University of Memphis Central Avenue parking lot. Participants should enter from Poplar Avenue at the Conlee Street entrance.

Participants will be able to take advantage of free shredding services to properly dispose of their sensitive documents. BBB staff will be on-site to provide expert advice and tips for identity theft protection. The event is sponsored by BBB and its national partners Equifax, Incorporated (, the National Association of Information Destruction (, ProQuo (, and local partner Cintas Document Management.

“Shredding sensitive paper documents is an important step, but it doesn’t end there,” said Randy Hutchinson, President, BBB of the Mid-South. “That’s why BBB experts will also be distributing important advice and simple steps everyone can take to prevent ID theft in their daily lives, both online and off.”

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