BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
of WESTERN MICHIGAN, INC
News Release #20120330
Contact: Phil Catlett, President
616.774.8230 - 800.684.3222
Fake Emails Continue to Plague
the Better Business Bureau
March 30, 2012
As phishing attacks using our name continue circulating, targeting both accredited and non-accredited businesses, we would like to assure you that the Better Business Bureau has played no role in this process, nor has information you’ve shared with us been compromised or caused you to become the target of these emails. Despite our best efforts to stop these fraudulent emails (see below), these phishing attacks may continue. Therefore, in an effort to help prevent any further issues, we’re issuing a general guideline which businesses and individuals should follow to determine if emails are actually from the BBB.
If you receive an email claiming to be from our BBB, use your cursor and hover over any link(s) within the email. If the web address that pops up (www.westernmichigan.bbb.org) matches the link that you see (www.westernmichigan.bbb.org), the email is safe. If the web address that pops up is different or from an entity other than the Better Business Bureau (see below), the email is fraudulent. Also, the BBB doesn’t send out attachments via email when alerting businesses a complaint has been filed against them. Any email purporting to be from the BBB regarding a complaint and containing an attachment is fraudulent; ignore their contents and delete them immediately. If you have already clicked on a link in any of these emails, you should run a full virus scan of your computer.
Below are examples of what the newest fake emails look like (different names and complaint ID numbers might be used in other bogus emails, but they will look a lot like these):
1) Valued business owner, we have received several complaints via the Better Business Bureau online complaint center concerning several unauthorized transaction from a number of checking bank accounts to your corporate account. You can view the complaints in our online complaint center using the following link:
http:/track.lawnserviceglendaleaz.com/main.php?page=79517303f67f5c (link removed)
Your login data:
Complaint ID: #10921
2) Dear business owner, we have obtained several reports via the Better Business Bureau online complaint center concerning several unauthorized transaction from a number of checking bank accounts to your corporate account. You can access the complaints in our online complaint center using the following link:
The BBB Complaint Center (link removed)
Your login data:
Complaint ID: #12939
The Better Business Bureau acts as an intermediary between US and Canadian consumers and business, and assists in mitigating consumer-related issues as an impartial third-party service. In special cases The Better Business Bureau reserves the right to initiate an investigation of a business involved in potentially.
Dispute Resolution Officer. Lars Phillips
The following information is included in an actual complaint e-mail notice from the BBB of Western Michigan:
We encourage you to use our ONLINE COMPLAINT system to respond to this complaint. The following URL (website address) below will take you directly to this complaint and you will be able to enter your response directly on our website: http://www.westernmichigan.bbb.org/complaint/view/(complaintnumber)/b/(password)
Please note that if the link received does not specifically include “westernmichigan.bbb.org”, it is not from our office and should not be opened. In addition, an actual e-mail from the BBB of Western Michigan will clearly list the local, western Michigan address at the bottom of the e-mail itself.
Despite our efforts to stop these attacks, they will likely continue. Over the last few months, the Council of Better Business Bureaus has worked with both the FBI and the Secret Service, as well as employed a phishing deactivation service to shut down websites that host malware fraudulently using our name. These efforts are ongoing. Though we have no control over these emails, we apologize for any inconvenience. If you’ve received a fake BBB email and clicked on one of the links or opened an attachment, it is imperative that you run a virus scan to eradicate any viruses or malware. The particular virus at play is known as “Zeuss” or “Zbot” and is a “Trojan Horse” or spyware virus that downloads onto a recipient’s computer and harvests confidential and personal data without detection. According to the FBI, one criminal organization used Zeuss to collect $70 million from victims
This particular malware first surfaced back in 2007. The BBB’s antivirus provider, Symantec, published an antivirus signature in 2010. A link to the Symantec description of the virus is provided below. Please ensure that your antivirus protection services cover Zeuss/Zbot.
From Symantec’s website (aka Norton Anti-Virus):
From the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center: The BBB has reported the phishing scams using our name to IC3 and they have included our scam in the following alert: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/corporateaccounttakeover.pdf.
The regional Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan services 38 counties in western Michigan. Our office is located in the Trust Building, 40 Pearl ST NW STE 354, Grand Rapids MI 49503. 616.774.8236 (Voice) 616.774.2014 (Fax) 800.684.3222 (Toll Free west Michigan ONLY).
The BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Business Reviews, charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, the BBB offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 116 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than three million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.