The Federal Trade Commission released a special bulletin on February 12, 2014 warning consumers about the latest trick being pulled by scam artists. Click here for full details. Scammers are sending fake emails with the subject line “Funeral Notification”.
The message looks like it comes from a legitimate funeral home and invites you to click on a link for more information about the upcoming celebration of your friend’s or loved one’s life. Instead of sending you to the funeral home’s website, however, the link sends you to a foreign domain where the scammers load malware onto your computer.
The malware (short for malicious software) may include viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer without your consent. The viruses can cause your compute to crash and the spyware can be used to monitor your online activity, steal personal information and commit fraud.
If you get an email about a friend’s or loved one’s passing, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you immediately delete the email. You can then contact the funeral home to verify whether there are actually funeral arrangements for your friend or loved one.
As a general rule, be cautious about opening, and especially clicking any links in an email that is from a sender you don't recognize, or is otherwise unexpected. It's always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your computer.