Better Business Bureau Warns Of Scam Involving Its Name
by Janet Kim
PORTLAND, Tenn. - It's an organization known to help both consumers and the business community, but someone is using the Better Business Bureau's name to scam people out of money. The latest victim is a mid-state city.
The Better Business Bureau is warning people about an email scam using the BBB name as a front. The subject will say "Complaints from your customers" and the email includes a link inside for an unsuspecting recipient.
The warnings and red flags didn't come soon enough for the City of Portland, the latest victim of the nationwide scam.
"All it took was a second for the virus or whatever it was to get in and basically own her computer," said Portland Mayor Kenneth Wilber.
The link downloads malware stealing information from your computer. In this case, thieves stole bank account information from Portland's Water and Sewer department and then made hefty withdrawals totaling $174,930, according to Wilber. About $60,000 have been recovered, but five percent of the city's water and sewage budget is still missing.
"I don't see any immediate results. Maybe we can't do some projects we'd like to do or not have as much cash as reserve," said Wilber.
Even in the worst case scenario and if the money isn't returned, city officials assure the citizens of Portland won't see an increase in water or sewage rates as a result.
The FBI has taken over the investigation. While the City of Portland is working with insurance to recover its losses, officials know they've learned an expensive lesson.
"Internet crime is out there, but please be careful for an innocent email can cost thousands or hundreds," Wilber concluded.