August 9, 2017

Wise Giving Wednesday: Phishing Scam Mimics BBB Complaint

Cybersecurity is a concern for everyone in philanthropy. And, the Better Business Bureau name, like other well-known entities, is not immune to being abused by scammers. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance and BBBs are warning charities, donors as well as businesses, that the BBB name and logo are being fraudulently used by criminals in an on-going phishing scam. The emails look very much like notice of a complaint from BBB, but contain links to malware that can infect the recipient’s computer or steal passwords.

If you get an email that looks like it is a BBB complaint:

  1. Do NOT click on any links or attachments.
  2. Read the email carefully for signs that it may be fake (for example, misspellings, grammatical errors, generic greetings such as “Dear member” instead of a name, etc.).
  3. Be wary of urgent instructions to take specified action such as “Click on the link or your account will be closed.”
  4. Hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is truly from bbb.org. The URL in the text should match the URL that your mouse detects. If the two do not match, it is most likely a scam.
  5. Send a copy of the email to phishing@council.bbb.org (Note: This address is only for scams that use the BBB name or logo)
  6. Delete the email from your computer completely (be sure to empty your “trash can” or “recycling bin,” as well).
  7. Run anti-virus software updates frequently and do a full system scan.
  8. Keep a close eye on your bank statements for any unexpected or unexplained transactions.
  9. If you have clicked on any of the links within the email, immediately change your email and network passwords AND notify your local IT provider for next steps and actions.

If you are not certain whether the complaint is legitimate, contact your local BBB: bbb.org/bbb-locator

BBB is working with law enforcement as well as a private deactivation firm to shut down as many criminal websites as possible. To date, we have shut down well over 100 sites. For additional tips on cybersecurity visit: https://www.bbb.org/council/for-businesses/cybersecurity/ 


As part of our Building Trust Video series, we are pleased to provide a video that features Lindsay Groff, Executive Director, Barth Syndrome Foundation, a BBB Accredited Charity, which seeks to expand, curate and disseminate scientific and medical information about Barth syndrome which is a genetic disorder that impacts various body systems including the heart and muscles.  


We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.   

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance