It's Back! Fake BBB Complaint Email Makes Rounds in 2012
January 19, 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.
  • Forward scam emails to
  • 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). You can call our BBB at 864-242-5052 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

    Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Trademarks | Find a BBB | BBB Directory

    © 2012 Council of Better Business Bureaus

    The second email also being sent:

    Thank you for supporting your Better Business Bureau (BBB). Your BBB receives more than 6,500 requests for information every day and provides reliability reports to consumers 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

    As a service to BBB Accredited Businesses, we try to ensure that the information we provide to potential customers is as accurate as possible. In order for us to provide the correct information to the public, we ask that you review the information that we have on file for your company.

    We encourage you to use our ONLINE FORM to provide us with this updated information. The URL below will take you directly to this form on our website:

    CLICK HERE to login to your BBB account (UserID: 22227099 Password: pv6r4hm)

    You may also complete the form on the reverse side of this letter and mail to PO Box 1000; DuPont, WA; 98327; or fax to (206)436-5496.

    Please look carefully at your telephone and fax numbers on this sheet, and let us know any and all numbers used for your business (including 800, 900, rollover, and remote call forwarding). Our automated system is driven by telephone/fax numbers, so having accurate information is critical for consumers to find information about your business easily. In addition, many consumers may search our database using your e-mail and/or Web address, so please be sure to include this information as well. As a BBB accredited business, you receive a free hyperlink from your online reliability report to your company Web site if provided to us.

    Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to receiving this updated information.


    Accreditation Services