BBB warns of ‘abuse bureau’ scam


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Scammers are using the reputation of the Better Business Bureau to frighten small business owners and others into giving up vital information.

The BBB is warning a phishing email claiming to be from non-existent BBB “abuse bureau” has exploded into mailboxes around North America.

The BBB in Raleigh and around the country have staff who conduct a lot of investigations into scams and companies that people have complained about.

What those staffers don’t do, is send out emails accusing you of violating federal regulations, which is what the fake BBB email is doing.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, CEO of the BBB of Eastern North Carolina.

The scammers behind the email have been particularly aggressive blanketing a wide area in the last few days.

“It is actually happening all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It’s a widespread issue,” says Wojciechowski.

The other day, the BBB sent out a press release to news organizations including CBS North Carolina about the scam.

Less than an hour later, consumer reporter Steve Sbraccia received one of those emails.

It was supposedly from the “BBB Abuse Bureau,” saying Sbraccia’s company had violated the health and safety act.

It sounds ominous doesn’t it?

Too bad the BBB doesn’t have an “abuse bureau” and Sbraccia doesn’t own the TV station where he works.

“These emails are not from the BBB,” says Wojciechowski. “They’re from scam artists using the BBB name and logo.”

To figure out what’s going on, you’ve got to be a bit of a detective on this.

First, look at the email address of the sender.

Sbraccia’s email came from an address that has nothing to do with the BBB.

That’s a red flag.

Also, you need to hover your cursor over the link the scammers want you to click which is embedded in the email.

The email sent to Sbraccia showed it did not link up to a BBB site when the cursor was placed over it. That’s another warning that the email is suspicious.

Here are some steps you should take if you get one of these mails.

  • Delete the email from your computer completely (be sure to empty your “trash can” or “recycling bin,” as well).
  • Keep a close eye on your bank statements for any unexpected or unexplained transactions.
  • if you have clicked on any of the links within the email, immediately change your email and passwords.

If you have a business and are not certain whether the complaint is legitimate, contact your local BBB.

The BBB says is working with national law enforcement agencies to track down these scammers.

If you’ve received one of those emails the BBB wants to see it, so it can find out who is behind the scam.

Here is the link you should use to forward that email to the national BBB. phishing@council.bbb.org

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