5 On Your Side

Bogus funeral announcement is latest email scam

Posted February 18, 2014

One of the latest email scams to hit inboxes arrives with the subject line "Funeral Announcement.”

The Federal Trade Commission is reporting a spike in the number of victims as more people click to open the fraudulent messages.

"What the scammers do is they send thousands, possibly millions of emails to people and hope to catch some that are actually experiencing a situation with a friend of relative where they're concerned about their health,” said Nat Wood, assistant director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission.

The message offers condolences and directs recipients to a link for details about the farewell ceremony.
When the link is opened, viruses and spyware could be installed on your computer.

"They could get tax information, Social Security numbers, credit card information. Really anything you have on your computer that is valuable to them," Wood said.

A Texas funeral home that is mentioned in some of the emails has posted a warning on its website.

"Scammers are always trying to stay one step ahead,” Wood said. “They've always got new come-ons. No matter how compelling the message is, don't click on links and unsolicited emails."

Experts recommend anyone who has opened scam email should download virus security software immediately.

The take away: Delete anything questionable, or at least search it first. If it's a scam, chances are good someone has already fallen victim and will share the warning.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Don Dickerson Feb 19, 2014
    user avatar

    You know what? If people just can't control their own curiosity or stupidity or whatever makes them click on everything in sight, then let'em get infected, ripped off, shut down, ruined, whatever may happen. If we can't stand up to business concerns and whiny first-amendment abusers to actually stop the spam-train these crooks use, then we deserve to play this russian roulette.

  • righthere1234 Feb 19, 2014

    I received this email the week my great-grandmother passed away. I opened it on my phone and realized it was spam and deleted it immediately. It's definitely a horrible thing to take advantage of someone as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

  • Andy Hairston Feb 19, 2014
    user avatar

    The dead giveaway (pun intended) is that the name of the "dear friend" isn't mentioned. And how did they get your email address in the first place?

    Also, hover over (DON'T CLICK) the links in the message to see where they go. If the link address doesn't match the email sender, it's probably bogus.