Take care with “official looking” emails


A new spat of phishing emails has started hitting email clients this week. The subjects range from tax investigations, legal notices and formal complaints. All of these email have one thing in common … they will scam you in some way if you give them a chance.


Most of these emails are sent from (probably) innocent domains and accounts via hijacking so complaining to the ISP or domain controller will not resolve any issue you may have due to clicking inside the email although they may well thank you for bringing the issue to their attention.


A typical example:




Here with the Better Business Bureau would like to inform you that we have been filed a complaint (ID 90934870) from a customer of yours with respect to their dealership with you.
Please open the COMPLAINT REPORT below to obtain more information on this case and suggest us about your point of view as soon as possible.


We are looking forward to your prompt reply.


Gerard Johnson


Dispute Counselor
Better Business Bureau


As you can see, the email is sent to no-one, just a hello (always a sign of a phishing scam). The inclusion of a reference number is a nice touch BUT any formal complaint letter would include the complainant’s ID and the address of the agency dealing with it, a contact land line number and usually, a department and extension number. A real letter would not contain an unidentified hyper-link!


There are many of this type around at the moment, don’t be fooled and DON’T click the links these mails contain!


Look for official styling (logos and signatures, full contact details and enough information that would allow you to positively identify the sender. Remember, a real letter of complaint or official warning document would not contain hyper-links and would almost certainly be sent as an attachment in either .pdf format or as a .txt document … never download or open .exe files from email.


Happy surfing and enjoy the weekend :)


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