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By CHRIS DICKERSON

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says an email scam is targeting business owners with a “pending consumer complaint.”

The fraudulent email claims to be from the Federal Trade Commission and asks the business owner to click on a link. By doing so, malware could be installed on a computer that can cause the device to crash. Malware also can be used to monitor and control a person’s online activity, steal his or her personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

“Sometimes e-mails like this can be very deceiving. This particular email uses an FTC logo, references the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and mentions a formal investigation,” Morrisey said in a press release. “It’s easy to understand why people might believe these e-mails are legitimate, but the fact is they’re not.”

Morrisey said business owners should follow these safety tips if they receive an email alerting them of a complaint:

* Look for strange phrasing, improper grammar and suspicious sender e-mail addresses; all are good indicators of a spam message.

* Do not click on links embedded in e-mails or respond to the message. If you do click on a link, immediately run a complete virus scan on your computer

* Forward the email to spam@uce.gov, and then delete as soon as you do.

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