Someone is using the Better Business Bureau’s name to send a dangerous virus to Charlotte businesses.
The BBB said the emails are showing up all over the region and could make their way to anyone’s computer.
The email virus is currently the top alert on the BBB website.
“We’re getting more calls on this right now than any other scam,” said Tom Bartholomy with the BBB.
What makes the scam different is that the scammers are using the BBB name to target member businesses.
“It’s got a Better Business Bureau masthead on it. (It) says there’s been a complaint filed against you in our office. ‘Click here to get more details,’” he said.
Businesses that click on the link to the bogus complaint can unleash a virus that first resends the same email to everyone in a user’s address book. It also searches the compromised computer for financial information criminals can use for identity theft and other financial crimes.
“It looks exactly like what you’d expect from an organization like the Better Business Bureau,” said Molly Thompson with the Charlotte YMCA.
She said she got one of the emails clicked the link.
“For us, we were really fortunate. When we clicked through, it said ‘Forbidden,’ which was our system acting on our behalf. We were really, really lucky,” she said.
Not everyone has been as lucky.
Experts say there is a way to check the link to see if it is a scam if you get a similar email.
Hover the mouse cursor over the link – but don’t click it – and the name of the link should appear at the bottom of the window. If it does not say Better Business Bureau, don’t click it.
The BBB suggests calling to verify the email before following the link.
“There doesn’t seem to be any stop to it. As long as people keep clicking on these links and they’re getting the information they want, they’re going to keep going out,” Bartholomy said.
The BBB said scammers have also started using other trusted names, including the IRS and the FBI on similar emails, which have similar links.