Apparently, using the name of the government agency dedicated to protecting consumers to help carry it out.
Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about emails purportedly from the agency that claim a complaint has been filed against you.
Naturally, it contains a link or attachment that if activated could download malware onto your phone or computer.
The emails contain the words “Pending consumer complaint” in the subject line, sport the official FTC seal and contain what at first glance appear to be legitimate FTC links. They’re not.
There’s nothing particularly new about this scam — we found earlier reports dating back to at least 2007 — but it must be effective enough that it continues to make the rounds from time to time.
“If you click on the link, it may install malware on your computer,” the FTC says. “Malware can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.”
Should you receive one of these emails, the FTC asks that you forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And then delete it.
Here’s a link to the full FTC warning.