It's Back! Fake BBB Complaint Email Makes Rounds in 2012

January 18, 2012

It’s back! An email scam using Better Business Bureau’s name and ‘Start With Trust’ tagline is flooding inboxes across the nation this morning. Emails purport to be from the Utah BBB and have a link that appears to be THIS IS A SCAM. Don’t be a victim; follow these basic tips to avoid malware and phishing attacks:

  • Do NOT open any attachments.

  • Do NOT click on any links, even if it looks legitimate.
  • Delete the email from your inbox, and then delete it again from your trash or recycling folder.
  • Run a full system scan using a reputable virus software scanner.
  • 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:

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

    • Look for typos, grammatical errors, etc. in the text that could indicate it originated overseas.
    • Check to see who it says it is from. 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 address.
    • Copy and paste the link into Notepad (not Word). Notepad does not support html, so if the link is a fake address, the real link will show up.
    • If you still are not sure, go to 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). If you are a NJ company, you can send it to or call your  BBB at 609 588-0808 as well to verify the legitimacy of a complaint.

    Start With Trust and check with your local BBB if you receive something that seems fishy. Below is the exact text of this scam email:

    Subject: BBB case # 216145442347

    To the Urgent Attention of the Owner/ Manager!

    Re: Case # 216145442347

    The Better Business Bureau would like to inform you, that one of your clients has recently forwarded us a complaint relative to their business relations with you. Please use the link below to review the contents of the complaint:

    In order to save your time and good customer relations, we strongly recommend that you provide the BBB with verification of your position regarding this case in writing by January 31, 2012 . Failure to promptly pay attention to this matter may have an influence on the Reliability Report we give to consumers about your company.

    We are looking forward to hearing from you.


    Larry Kaye

    Dispute Counselor

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    © 2012 Council of Better Business Bureaus

    Before deleting the email, you may forward it to

     BBB is working with law enforcement to determine its source and stop the fraudulent campaign.