The Federal Trade Commission issued the alert below on September 1, 2011 warning consumers about a bogus email being falsely sent using their name and leading recipients to believe it is it is from them. In fact, it is not. Below is the legitimate email from the FTC.
FTC Warns Small Businesses: Don’t Open Email Falsely Claiming to be From FTC
The FTC is warning small businesses that an email with a subject line “URGENT: Pending Consumer Complaint” is not from the FTC. The email says that a complaint has been filed with the agency against their company. The FTC advises not to click on any of the links or attachments with the email. Clicking on the links may install a virus on the computer.
The FTC’s advice: Delete the email. For more information on malware, visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov/malware.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Office of Public Affairs
Below is the fake email. As you can see it looks legitimate. Do not click the link!
From: Federal Trade Commission [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 11:28 AM
Subject: URGENT : Pending consumer complaint!
Dear business owner,
A consumer complaint has been filled against your company.
Your company is being accused of trying to commit fraud against the complaint's filling party. The full text of the complaint file can be viewed on the FTC website, in PDF format, by visiting the following link :
An official response from your part is required, in order to take further action. Please review the charges brought forward in the complaint file, and contact us as soon as possible by :
Phone: Call our toll-free helpline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357);
Online: Use our secure complaint form (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov)
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Protection Department
It is not uncommon for scammers to use the name of legitimate organizations, as well as use scare tactics such as those in the phony email above, to scare potential victims and illicit a response.
As always, your BBB urges consumers to use extreme caution when opening any email. It’s especially important not to click on links unless you are positive who sent the email.