Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas warned consumers Tuesday about a fake funeral scam.
An email notifying recipients about a “friend’s” upcoming funeral instructs the recipient to click a link to view more details about the invitation and the ceremony. BBB advised consumers that it is a bogus invitation intended to download malware to the recipient’s computer. If installed, the malware may connect the infected computer to a botnet and install more malware.
The BBB contacted the funeral home, which indicated they were aware of the malicious emails but were not aware where they originated. The BBB believes the people sending the emails hijacked what sounded like a trustworthy business name. The company has since placed a notice on its website.
“Although impostor scams are nothing new, they are becoming more sophisticated,” BBB President and Chief Executive Officer Mechele Agbayani Mills said in a statement. “One common thread with many scams is the attempt to evoke emotion — fear, excitement, and in this case, alarm and compassion — so that the potential victim does not make logical decisions, giving the schemer access to the information they are seeking.”
Impostor scams can be conducted by email, phone calls or at your door. Scam artists pose as companies, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and friends and relatives to gain access to your financial data or personal information — sometimes installing malicious viruses on your computer along the way.
The BBB suggests the following tips for consumers to stay safe online:
n Protect your computer and your personal information from malware with a firewall and an anti-virus program; update those programs regularly.
n Update your operating system and web browser software regularly.
n Protect your passwords. Keep them in a secure place. Create passwords that have at least eight characters and use numbers, symbols and letters. Do not use the same password for each online account that you have.
n Back up important files.
n Never click on links or download attachments from someone you don’t know.
If you received this email and clicked on the link or downloaded attachments, your computer information may be compromised. Immediately run anti-malware and anti-virus programs, forward the email to ic3.gov, and contact a reputable computer repair technician to further examine your computer for issues.
For tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraud or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.