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Rip-Off Alert: Fake FTC emails tricking business owners

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Updated: 3/16/2013 12:38 pm
LAS VEGAS (Better Business Bureau) -- In this Rip-Off Alert, a new phishing scam is making the rounds disguised as a consumer complaint notification from the FTC. If you receive it, just hit "delete."

The scam works like this: You get an email that appears to be from the FTC with the subject line: "Notification of a Consumer Complaint." The email states that a complaint has been filed against your business, and you need to review and respond to the allegations.

The email provides a link for you to supposedly click through to the FTC website and download a PDF of the complaint details. The link really goes to a third-party website, and the file you download is actually malware that scans your computer for personal and banking information.

Like most scams, this one is not set in stone. Several variations already exist, and scammers will continue to alter the emails as news of the con spreads. Watch out for changes in the subject line and the complaint details. Older reports of the scam involve emails that urge recipients to call a fake FTC help hotline or complete an online complaint form.

How to spot a phishing email:

•Don't believe what you see. Scammers can make links look like they lead to legitimate websites (as in the example above) and emails appear to come from a different sender. It's also easy to steal the colors, logos and email header of the FTC or any other established organization.

•Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. Do not click on the links or open the files.

•Check a link's true destination by hovering over it and looking in the lower right hand corner of your browser.

•Try Googling the organization or the contents of the email. If the email is a scam, this is likely to reveal an alert or bring you to the organization's real website, where they may have posted further information.
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