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Better Business Bureau scam pops up across country

Email

WORTHINGTON -- Carrying the correct address and phone number for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, Va., another email scam or virus is popping up across the country, including in southwest Minnesota.

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The contact information on the page might be correct, but the message in the email is not and the link could be dangerous.

"Valued small business owner," the email states. "We have received an online tip about your company alleged participation in check cashing and Money Order Scam. You are asked to provide your official response to this complaint within 14 days. Failure to submit the company response will result in cancellation your Better Business Bureau rating and probable termination of your BBB accreditation status."

At the bottom of the email is a blue link that reads "Compliant ID #1025670." The recipient is supposed to click on the link to respond to the complaint -- not a good idea, according to Daily Globe Systems Administrator Aaron Vasecka.

Unsolicited email links may not only be an attempt to scam money, but can carry viruses and other malware.

"Always check to see what you're clicking on before you click it," Vasecka advised. "On most computers, if you let your cursor hover over the link, it should tell you where it goes. If it doesn't match where it should be going, don't click."

In this case, the link that claims to lead to a resolution page for the BBB actually leads to a site that can download viruses.

The email sender address claims to be from the BBB, but is actually an email provided through an e-commerce system based in Switzerland.

The message in the email claims the recipient may be in trouble with the BBB, but the BBB itself issued an alert about the scheme more than a year ago.

Similar emails have gone out with email addresses from departments that simply don't exist, such as "riskmanager@bbb.org."

One set of messages specifically targeted Certified Public Accountants, stating a customer was accusing them of assisting them with income tax fraud and the BBB was threatening to revoke their license.

The BBB alert states businesses and consumers who receive an email claiming to be from them with the subject line "Complaint from your customers" or "BBB complaint office seeks your urgent response" should delete the email.

"This email is fraudulent," the alert states. "Ignore its contents and delete it immediately. If you have already clicked on a link in the email, run a full virus scan of your computer."

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck may be reached at 376-7322.

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