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« Don't Fall for 'Do Not Call' Registry Scams | Main | Unlocking Your Cell Phone Can Lead to Fines, Penalties »

Warning: ‘Notification of Consumer Complaint’ Email Is a Scam

If you run a business, probably the last thing you want to see in your email inbox is a notification about a consumer complaint from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Fortunately for you, if you receive such an email it may not be an actual customer complaint.

Unfortunately for you, those email messages may link you to viruses and malware that can infect your computer.

The FTC reports that someone is sending out emails with the subject line: "NOTIFICATION OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT." The FTC wants you to know that the federal agency is not responsible for these emails. Instead, scammers are sending out these messages so they can access your private information.

The federal agency reports that individuals who click on the pictures and links in the email may inadvertently download viruses or malware onto their computers. The FTC suggests that anyone who receives these emails delete them immediately.

If you believe you have accidentally downloaded a virus, there are some steps you can take to protect your personal information:

  • Stop what you're doing online. If you're paying your bills, making online purchases, or performing any act that involves private information, you should stop immediately. This information may be compromised by viruses or malware.

  • Scan your computer for viruses. Run the virus check on your computer and delete any red-flagged programs that pop up.

  • Contact customer support for your computer. To ensure your computer is truly virus-free, you may be able to bring your computer back to the manufacturer if you are covered by a warranty or other provision.

  • Contact your banks and credit card companies. If your personal information is compromised, you will want to make sure your bank and credit card accounts aren't affected. Contacting them can ensure that you are not charged for purchases you did not make.

  • Check your credit report. For the next few months, you will also want to check your credit reports to make sure that unauthorized activity did not occur.

For more tips on how to protect yourself online, check out FindLaw's free Guide to Online Fraud and Identity Theft and head over to the Online Safety section of our website.

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