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Apr-28-2009 16:21printcomments

BBB Warns Against Swine Flu Scams

Scammers Are Creating Their Own Epidemic Of Spam E-mails.

Better Business Bureau logo
Contact your local Better Business Bureau for more information.

(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.) - Relying on reports from online security experts, Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for fraudulent emails and Web sites trying to take advantage of the current swine flu outbreak.

“Scammers read newspapers, watch TV and surf the Internet and they know that by using a hook from the day’s top headlines, that they’ll be able to catch lots of fish,” said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington.

“Right now, issues associated with swine flu and a potential pandemic are of global interest and that means scammers have a very large pond to go phishing in.”

According to McAfee Avert Labs, an online security company, spammers began pumping out e-mails as soon as the first accounts of swine flu were being reported in the news, accounting for two percent of all spam messages. The messages include such subject lines as, “Madonna caught swine flu!” and “Swine flu in Hollywood!” The company reports that the e-mails do not contain malware but often link to online pharmacies.

According to F-Secure Corp., another online security company, more than 250 Web sites with the term “swine flu” have been registered within the first few days following the announcement of the outbreak and predict that the scams artists are preparing to use such Web sites in a variety of different online scams. F-Secure also reports that one Web site is already selling a “Swine Flu Survival Guide” PDF for $19.95.

BBB offers the following advice to avoid swine flu scams:

* Avoid opening any e-mail from an unknown source and do not click on any links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Instead, delete the e-mail or report it to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the e-mail to

* Don’t believe online offers for vaccinations against swine flu because a vaccine does not exist.

* Consumers are encouraged to check their state’s Department of Health Web sites for updates and further information concerning this issue:

+ Federal:

+ Oregon:

* Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed. If your computer becomes infected as the result of a spam e-mail about swine flu, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington: Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.

For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

stephen April 28, 2009 7:50 pm (Pacific time)

obama, bush, and rumsfeld all have stock in tamiful. I myself knew this would make money quite awhile ago, but I cant take money for things that hurt people. Just going to stick with food and silver, and trying to help others.

Laura April 28, 2009 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

People will try to make money off of anything.

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