Scam Alert: Email Posing as BBB Laced with Malware

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I've talked about some of my own experiences with others trying to use my identity and my reputation to further their own scams.  It's not uncommon that con-artists use the names of government agencies, financial institutions or even familiar consumer watchdog groups like the Better Business Bureau as part of their ruse. Two types of emails purporting to be from the BBB have found their way into the in-boxes of over a million people so far. Using the organization's good name --they try to dupe unsuspecting consumers into visiting a site that then downloads malware onto their computers.

On top of the damage that's being done to consumers who receive these messages, the BBB is having problems keeping up with all of the calls and other complaints they've received as a result of people thinking these emails are official.  It's difficult for real complaints to get through when the phone system is bogged down by angry consumers wanting to know why the organization is sending emails that contain links to viruses and malware. 

The emails seem to be sent out in waves, with at least two separate versions of the email being discovered so far. 

Better Business Bureau investigators are working with federal agencies to try and find the culprits behind the fake emails, but until they do they stress that consumers should be wary of any email claiming to be from the BBB that they weren't expecting.  This is especially important if the email claims that you filed a complaint or have an account with the Bureau when you know that you don't; curiosity can sometimes hook people who wonder if a mistake is made --and that's exactly what the scam-artist is hoping for.
Both waves of fake emails that have been identified so far claim to be from a address.  Emails from the first wave inform the recipient that there is new information regarding a complaint he or she filed previously, while emails from the second wave state that the recipient needs to update his or her information on the Better Business Bureau website.

The links in both emails lead to fake websites that silently install malware and attempt to steal personal information from the user. Officials from the BBB state that one way to recognize the fake emails is that they include attachments; real emails from the Bureau never have any files attached. 

E-mails attempting to infect computers are very common --but they're often hard to detect. If you receive an unexpected email claiming to be from the Better Business Bureau and it seems suspicious, forward the email to the BBB's phishing task force at and delete the email from your computer.  Don't click on any links inside of the email or open any attachments as you could run the risk of becoming infected with malware. Run a full virus scan on your computer if you did click on any links

The BBB has also alerted businesses not to fall for a corporate phishing attack:

The e-mail claims to be from the Federal Reserve and states that there are "new requirements for account protection due to frequent attacks". It goes on to state, "We strongly insist you install the latest version of our system security update" and in turn, directs the reader to click on a link to download the update. The link, when clicked, could easily infect computers with malware.

Stay informed and up-to-date on the latest scams and identity theft crimes that can pose risk to your mobile device, your bank account, ---and even your home.   When it comes to fraud---knowledge is your best defense.
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