Don’t fall for email; website has been shutdown


By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

The email clearly reads that a $19.96 monthly bill was not going to be paid because the order was made from an unknown IP address.

“I have no idea what this is regarding,” says Kerry Lindorfer, of Boise, “and, to my knowledge I did not got to a ‘hostgator’ site.'”

The message, supposedly sent from the HSBC, prompted Lindorfer to open an attached zip folder attached to the email: “Please download attachment file and complete the form to cancel the payment.”

STOP RIGHT THERE – never open a file in an email from a source you do not know.  AND – never complete forms.

Lindorfer was right to question this email.

When BBB opened the file it discovered the site had been shutdown by as a forgery website with the intent to steal your personal information.

If you get an e-mail that warns you, with little to no notice, that an account – bank card, bank account, phone or other service – will be shut down unless you reconfirmed your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the e-mail. Instead, contact the company referenced in the e-mail using a telephone number or website address you know to be genuine (because it seems on a billing statement, for instance).

Avoid emailing personal and financial information.

If you have determined the web site to be legitimate and do decide to give financial information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.

BBB says if it reads “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” then it’s a secure datastream. This, however, does not guarantee data privacy, so be wise about sending data over the Internet.

Lindorfer didn’t open the zip, but rather sent it to


1 Comment

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One response to “Don’t fall for email; website has been shutdown

  1. Mark Burrows

    I have to add something else here. People, please, learn more about the security of your computers. Since I do not know what kind of computers or OS (operating system) everyone uses, you need to do at least two things. First find the security options for your OS that will give you the maximum protection. Second, and you better have one, go to your antivirus protections program and look for email protection options. If your antivirus software doesn’t offer any, then get rid of it and get one that does. Other tips would include things like disable remote options. This is like allowing online help sites to open your computer to aide you in resolving a problem. Find this, and turn it off. If you get redirected to a site you are not familiar with, they could have a party helping themselves to everything you have and leaving you little surprises that will not easily go away. Also check your email server for options to separate genuine email from junk email. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, it has taken me years to hone my skills to protect my system that I do it automatically. But if you are stuck for a clue how to do anything, just type in Google a question and read everything. Don’t just take the first solution as the best answer. Make it simple, like if you have Windows 7, just type in: How do I protect my emails from junk mail windows 7
    Try other variations as well. My point is simple. The better control you have over your incoming mail, the less you will be tripped up by scams. I can identify everything in my inbox by the message description and the sender. If it is not from someone I am familiar with, off to junk mail it goes. Then if I am curious, and I do not advise this, I go to my junk mail and before I even open them, I run them through my antivirus software, and a couple of spyware shredders I found somewhere, then I take a peek. I don’t click on any links, and I don’t open any attachments. Then I do things, I can not or will not explain because I tend to track and stir up trouble with people who send out such crap. Please, don’t even think about attempting this. Leave it to those who have the experience and the connections to do a little payback with damage. I can’t stop it, but I can take out a few offenders, and that for me is justice enough.

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