Fact Check

Better Business Bureau

E-mail phishing scam poses as notifications from the Better Business Bureau.

Published Dec 7, 2011

Phishing bait:   E-mailed notification about customer complaint from the Better Business Bureau.


[Collected via e-mail, November 2012]


The Better Business Bureau has received the above-referenced complaint
from one of your customers regarding their dealings with you. The details
of the consumer's concern are included on the reverse. Please review this
matter and advise us of your position.

As a neutral third party, the Better Business Bureau can help to resolve
the matter. Often complaints are a result of misunderstandings a company
wants to know about and correct.

In the interest of time and good customer relations, please provide the
BBB with written verification of your position in this matter by November
15, 2012. Your prompt response will allow BBB to be of service to you and
your customer in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. Please inform
us if you have contacted your customer directly and already resolved this

The Better Business Bureau develops and maintains Reliability Reports on
companies across the United States and Canada . This information is
available to the public and is frequently used by potential customers.
Your cooperation in responding to this complaint becomes a permanent part
of your file with the Better Business Bureau. Failure to promptly give
attention to this matter may be reflected in the report we give to
consumers about your company.

We encourage you to print this complaint, answer the questions and respond
to us. (self-extracting archive, Adobe PDF)

We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.


Better Business Bureau Complaint Department

[Collected via e-mail, December 2011]

From: Better Business Bureau
Subject: BBB service Re: Case #62120331


The Better Business Bureau has been filed the above mentioned complaint from one of your clients on the subject of their dealings with you.

The details of the consumer's concern are explained in attached document.

Please give attention to this problem and inform us about your position.

We kindly ask you to click here to reply this complaint.

We look forward to your urgent reply.

Shawna Dennis
Better Business Bureau


Origins:   In December 2011 and again in November 2012, Internet users began receiving e-mailed messages purportedly sent by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advising them of customer complaints in need of resolution. These messages invited recipients to view an attached document providing "the details of the customer's concerns" and to click an embedded hyperlink to "reply this complaint" [sic] or "inform us of your point of view." These messages are bogus, and the expectation of the senders is that some of them will land in the inboxes of persons who operate businesses and lure them into following the hyperlink (which leads not to the BBB's site, but to a completely different site altogether).

The BBB has posted a warning on its web site, advising that:

Better Business Bureau is issuing an urgent SCAM alert cautioning businesses and consumers about an email that looks like it is from BBB, with the subject line "Complaint from your customers." This e-mail is fraudulent; ignore its contents and delete it immediately. If you have already clicked on a link in the e-mail, run a full virus scan of your computer.

The e-mails have return addresses that BBB does not use (one example is riskmanager@bbb.org) and it is signed with the address of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the national office of the BBB system. The e-mail contains a link to a non-BBB web site. Do NOT click on the link.

BBB is working with law enforcement to determine its source and stop the fraudulent campaign.

Last updated:   3 December 2012

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.