Beware of that "Notification of Consumer Complaint" email you may receive, purportedly from the Federal Trade Commission. It may not really be one of your customers complaining, but rather an elaborate email scam.
The FTC is warning small business owners that someone is sending out an email with the subject line, in all caps, reading: "NOTIFICATION OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT."
The federal agency wants you to know that this email is not from them. The FTC warns small businesses that the email falsely states that a complaint has been filed with the agency against your business. Furthermore, the FTC warns you not to click on any of the links or attachments.
So what is the purpose of the scam? It appears that if you click on certain links, you may inadvertently install a virus or other spyware onto your computer, according to the FTC's warning. If you receive such emails, the FTC recommends that you delete the email immediately.
If it is too late and you suspect that you have already downloaded the malware, there are some steps you should take immediately:
- Stop shopping, banking, and engaging in other online activities that require you to enter usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information.
- Update your security software, and then run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem.
- Contact tech support for your device, if you are under warranty or have some other service provision.
Aside from clearing up your computer, you can also report the incident to the FTC by filing a complaint at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
In the future, you can keep the following tips in mind to avoid installing malware:
- Keep your security software updated.
- Don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it.
- Download and install software only from websites you trust.
- Use a pop-up blocker and don't click on any links within pop-ups.
Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Google+ by clicking here.
- Got a consumer complaint email? Beware, it could be a scam (Los Angeles Times)
- The FindLaw Guide to Online Fraud and Identity Theft (FindLaw - Free Download)
- Don't Fall for 'Do Not Call' Registry Scams (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Will PayPal Policy Change Be Good for Business? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)