CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is alerting residents to a scam that’s been making its way around to inboxes across the country and region.
Scammers are sending fraudulent “funeral notice” e-mails to citizens with the hopes that the recipient will be curious or grief-stricken enough to blindly click on an embedded link in the hopes of getting information about their friend or relative’s “celebration of life” service. But instead of providing information on memorial services, the link enables the computer to be hijacked with malicious software.
“Scammers always seem to be looking for new ways to steal, but this really could be a new low,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Tricking people with fake death notices is really just despicable.”
Messages sent, which appear convincing, often contain the names, addresses and logos of local funeral homes, so the recipient of the email feels comfortable clicking through without much thought. However, once the reader clicks on the link, the computer becomes infected with malicious software that can steal personal and financial information and send it to other computers or send spam emails out on your behalf without your knowledge.
The AG's office says that should one of these messages appear in your inbox, don’t click through, click delete. If you want to verify information about a person’s death, you can call the funeral home directly to verify the information.
As a general reminder, it’s always a good idea to make sure your computer’s firewall and virus protection are up to date and always active; that you have a good pop-up advertisement blocker installed; and, that you don’t click on links in emails from people you don’t recognize.