Monday, December 19, 2011

BBB Updates Advice for Recipients of Phishing Email Claiming to be a Complaint

An email scam using the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) name and logo continues to proliferate across North America, and even to some overseas addresses. Most of the emails carry the famous BBB torch logo and come with the subject line “Complaint from your customers.” The emails have a link or an attachment containing malicious phishing malware that steals information, often with devastating results.

The BBB recommends the following to anyone who receives the email:

· Do not to open any attachments;

· Do not click on any links;

· Delete the email from your inbox, and then delete it again from your trash or recycling folder;

· Run a full system scan using reputable virus software.

Previously, the BBB had recommended running a full system scan only if the recipient had clicked on the link or opened the attachment. However, due to the virulent nature of the virus, the new recommendation is for everyone who receives it to run the scan and in offices or homes that are networked, all computers should be scanned.

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:

· 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, visit 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). They have been swamped with requests, so you may not hear back immediately.

The CBBB is working with federal law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrator of this fraud, and is also looking into other measures it can take to help prevent future phishing scams from spreading.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud can mean anything from non-delivery of mail-order merchandise to mail actually being stolen. Not only do criminals steal packages containing presents and cards filled with money or checks but personal information in your mail can be used by criminals to steal your identity.

Preventing Mail Theft:

• Do not leave outgoing mail in your unlocked mailbox.

• Deposit mail in a collection box or inside your local post office.

• Promptly pick up your incoming mail after it is delivered.

• Have mail delivered to a Post Office Box or Personal Mail Delivery Service.

• Use Direct Deposit and Electronic Banking to avoid checks in your mail.

• Contact the senders if you don’t receive credit cards, checks, or other valuable mail.

• When out of town have the post office hold your mail or have someone your trust pick up the mail daily.

• Be observant of and report suspicious activities on your street, including those near your letter carrier, the postal vehicle, residential mailboxes, and collection boxes.

• Notify the post office and people who will be sending you mail that you have a change of address.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Foreign Currency Fee Litigation

The Better Business Bureau has determined that checks for $18 sent by the Foreign Currency Fee Litigation Settlement Fund are legitimate and can be cashed or deposited.

According to national BBB sources, the checks are the result of a 2009 settlement over the fees credit card companies charged people when using their card abroad. Those who traveled outside the United States between February 1996 and November 2006 may receive this check.

In many cases, customers did not opt into the settlement themselves, but were opted in by their banks. For more information, visit

For more consumer safety tips. Visit

Better Business Bureau Warns Travelers of Holiday Break-ins

For many, the holidays are a time to travel and be with their families. Many do not realize it is also a time for home burglaries. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns Holiday travelers to take precautions when planning to leave home for the holidays.

Items that thieves typically steal are things that can be easily sold: tools, bicycles, cameras, and expensive items such as furs and jewelry.

The BBB offers the following advice to Holiday Travelers:

1. Don’t make your home a target: Many people keep their friends and family updated about their travels via facebook, twitter and other social media. While it seems harmless to let your friends and family know what you are up to during the holidays, it lets those who may commit a burglary have access to this information. Many burglaries are actually committed by people that know someone you know. Also, don’t post pictures of your trip until you are home.

2. Make your home less attractive for burglars: Increase outdoor lighting and put your lights on a timer so the home will not appear empty while you’re away. Trim the trees and shrubs around the exterior before leaving.

3. Secure the exterior openings of your home: Upgrade your locks to grade one locks, which have a stronger bolt. Add locks to your windows and sliding glass doors if they don’t already have them or extra safety.

4. Be aware of your surroundings when shopping and traveling: Secure all your possessions, not just those in your home. If visiting a city that is new to you, ask the hotel where you should and shouldn’t walk before venturing out. Keep your wallet and money in your front pockets. If using a purse, hold it close to your body at all times. If you’re nervous about leaving valuables at home, get a safe box at your local bank.

For more business information you can trust, visit

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