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Bogus BBB emails lure users to virus site

Spammers have hijacked the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) well-respected name to spread a dangerous virus among Charlotte, North Carolina businesses. The BBB reported that the email has spread throughout the region and any computer user should beware. The consumer protection organization has put the email virus threat as its website’s top alert.

The BBB’s Tom Bartholomy said they have been getting more calls about this email virus than any other fraud. This electronic scam is different from regular scams since it uses the BBB’s masthead at the top of the email. It lures the reader to clicking a link by claiming that there has been a complaint filed against the reader. The reader is then encouraged to click on a link to find out the details.

Once a user clicks on the link, a virus is activated which then hijacks the user’s address book and sends out copies of the same scam email to the list. Moreover, it scans the infected computer’s files for any financial information that can used to facilitate identity theft and other crimes.

The email looks perfectly like an official BBB communication. Users that have the proper antivirus/security software installed, clicking on the link will produce a Forbidden or warning message and the application will block access to the malware. Not all users have adequate security software installed.

Security professionals advise users to hover their mouse cursor over the purported BBB link. Check the url that appears at the bottom of your browser. If it is not the official BBB website, don’t click the link and discard the email.

The BBB advises users to call the BBB first to verify the email instead of clicking the link. The BBB said that spammers have also used other trusted organizations like the FBI and IRS in similar scams.