Fake funeral notice can be deadly — for your computer

Scam artists are forever trying to trick people into clicking on links that will download malware to their computers. But the latest scam takes the tricks to a new low. Scammers are sending bogus emails with the subject line "funeral notification." The message appears to be from a legitimate funeral home, offers condolences, and invites you to click on a link for more information about the upcoming "celebration of your friend’s life service." But instead of sending you to the funeral home's website, the link sends you to a foreign domain where the scammers download malware to your computer.

Malware, short for “malicious software," includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

If you get an email about a friend or loved one’s passing, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, says hit Delete. Don’t click on the link. You may then want to contact the funeral home or family directly to verify the information.

To reduce your risk of downloading unwanted malware and spyware:

  • Keep your security software updated.
  • Don't click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is.
  • Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.
  • Make sure your browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads.
  • Use a pop-up blocker and don't click on any links within pop-ups.
  • Resist buying software in response to unexpected pop-up messages or emails, especially ads that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware. That's a tactic scammers use to spread malware.
  • Back up your data regularly.

For general tips about avoiding and getting rid of malware, visit Computer Security.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Comments

I got one of these... from Eubanks funeral home in TX
no, I did not open it .. they are aware of the situation.

I receive one from this Eubanks Funeral Home, I had just loss a love one, I know I have no friends or family in TX. I deleted it. What a shame scammer will go this far.

Got one from Hubbel Funeral Home in Florida, link routes to the UK.

I also got one from Hubbel Funeral Home today. I did not open the link of course, but I do have family that lives there. I guess I will just call the funeral home directly. Thanks.

I got the same on yesterday. Almost hit it, but went to the actual funeral home's site first. When it came up "503", I Googled "Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Home funeral scam" and hit this page. Thank goodness.

I got one from them too. This is terrible!

I just got one this morning.

I just received an email from this exact Home routes UK

I have received two of these funeral emails recently and also several easy apply loan emails. All goes straight to trash/delete. Hard to believe that so many people still fall for such things !!! Thanks for keeping us updated.

thank you for the warning,,,,,and for the infomation,,

Thank you so much for your continued updates... it's a shame that consumers have to worry about such things.

very good advice for securing one's computer..

There are many people who try to send malicious files to emails acting as a company, it is not just about funerals. Sometimes, they act as banks/lottery companies and many others. Beware of such emails.

Have received several of these funeral emails as well as court appearance/eviction emails. All malware! Watch Out!

I received one of these just a few days after my brother's funeral. I could tell right away that it was fishy...the whole think just stank! Wow dare these morons send something like to anyone on the rouse of being a funeral home; Especially sending it to someone mourning over a recent loss.

Received one today 2/18/14 from Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Homein Florida...terrible.

I received the Clearwater & Largo Memorial e-mail today. We clearly have the ability to track the source of these scams. We don't have the desire. And when caught, the penalty is far too lenient. For the unsuspecting (too often the older, hence using a funeral home as the ploy), the damage can be devastating. Sure, everyone should take precautions, but this is no different than someone breaking into the home of a senior citizen, stealing her identity, all her money and society blaming her for not have a security guard on duty.

Also got one today from Clearwater & Largo. They've got to be pissed.

I guess I know a lot of people that have died. This the the second email I have gotten from 2 different funeral homes. By the way I'm being evicted too. So don't open those eviction notice emials either!

Received one today from Clearwater & Largo funeral home in Florida. Was immediately suspicious and found this site. Deleted it, but really a new low for these lowlife scammers.

I got one from Clearwater and Largo today. I was suspicious when it only said "friend" so I didn't click the link. I went to their website instead and found the last obituary was from January...googled it and here I am.

Just got one from Clearwater & Largo...Will this stuff ever end? Didn't know anyone in Florida and since there wasn't a name included, I figured it must be a scam... Beware!!!

Dang it - I got one today and opened it. It went to Google. Running McAfee right now.

I just recieved one of these from Clearwater & Largo. I thought it was suspcicious because the email address it came from was tammy@jtmprocarpet.com. I looked up Pro Carpet and found out that Tammy is the CFO. Does anyone else see the address their emails were sent from?

Yes, I just received email from same funeral home, but the email address was from jamie@stellar-properties-inc.com. This is a legitimate company and there is a Jamie person who is the CEO. I always check the email address just to double prove it is not legit. Today was a busy day as I also received an email from an Irish woman, born in the USA, now living in South Africa, wanting me to handle her 20 million to go to a charity. She has all of this money because her husband died in the infamous plane crash and she only has 4 monthls to live, so I have to act fast. Another Nigeria letter. They are definitely interesting and I wished I had the time to follow up with them with untraceable emails and fake bank accounts to see if I can scam them back, but not enuf time.
Have a nice weekend.

Just got the Clearwater & Largo -- went to the funeral home site and clicked their obituary link -- unfortunately if was down for maintenance so I took a chance -- clicke the link -- friends I don't keep contact with live in the area -- a zip file box came up that said it had the information -- knew better than to click it. Did a scan, seems ok.

I received one today from Clearwater & Largo funeral home at my business email address. Since I do business in that area, I thought it might be legitimate, but immediately got a warning from Symantec when I click on the link. Definitely a scam.

I just received an email from Clearwater & Largo Funeral Home in FL. about a "special" service being held for my friend. I noticed that the service was in the am and I rec'd the email in the pm and also it came from a McFadden agency. Sounded suspicious so I goggled the funeral home and saw this link. So glad that I came here first and read everyone's comments. How dare they prey on the vunerable.

Just got one from Clearwater and largo too. Thank goodness I checked it out

Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Home using email address info@carpfriend.dwsi.hu

Earn an Honest Living Pukes! Get out there in the REAL world!

Got one from Clearwater and Largo. Came in overnight. Watch out.

yup got the same thing from clearwater largo glad i didnt click on link the law should look into all of this,, and im glad i found this web sight

Really this has to be one of the lowest forms of con artist. But I must admit I take great pleasure in contacting them by phone and telling them to keep sending me checks and I keep telling them I lost them and so forth. HA stay vigilant my fellow Americans!

I received the same one from Clearwater & Largo with a different e-mail address...ended in .se
I didn't open it either - What do people get out of this?? Unreal.

Got one,was suspicious, googled it, came to this page, thanks!

I've had two of these "notices" in the past week. Even though I have friends in that area, I knew not to click on the link - fortunately. This scam is just about the lowest kind of scam I've encountered. What a shame that there's no way to scam the scammers!

I also just got one from Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Home with the address richf1@gcofla.com. For everyone on this thread, the easiest way to tell it's bogus is to put your cursor on the sender's address and see what hidden address pops up. If it has no relation to the address in the header, beware! I regularly receive e-mails purporting to be from PayPal that look extremely official but the hidden address always gives it away. Before deleting I always forward a copy to PayPal or whoever else its supposed to be from and also to reportphishing@antiphishing.org and spam@uce.gov.

I got one today. Was suspicious, but do have a friend who winters in Florida. I googled the funeral home name and saw that there was the scam/malware problem, so didn't click on the link. As someone who has lost many family members, and friends, this is so low that someone uses a funeral home to try to get people to click. I wish something could be done to stop them!

Even got one in Australia from Clearwater & Largo.

I clicked on it with my ipad, what do I do?

I am a clergyman in Florida and officiate at many, many funerals. I have received emails like this repeatedly, and always delete them. There ought to be a special room in the bowels of Hell for scammers such as these . . .

The first clue that the email was bogus was the fact that the "loved one" was unnamed. Second,families notify relatives of deaths, funeral homes place death notices and obituaries in news media, they don't normally send personal invitations.

Just notified my father passed away last night and received this email this morning, having relatives in florida i was confused until i discovered it was fraudulent. How depraived to attempt to fraud grief strickened families.

I got sucked in to this one. How serious is it? What does it do? What needs to be done to get rid of it? I am running an Apple Mimi-mac with OS-X version 10.6.88 -my Mac firewall was turned on at the time.

got one from Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Home. The return address is in russia. info@amazingphuket.ru

Received one this morning too. Googled and found I was not alone.
Nothing is to low for these scammers!

Just got one of these this morning from someone claiming to be Hubble Funeral Home. Fortunately I was immediately suspicious because I don't know anyone in Florida.

Yesterday afternoon I saw a huge surge of traffic on one of my servers. It turns out that a host of servers (many Russian and Polish) were injecting mail from a legitimate user on that system. Thousands of these messages either from "Hubbell Funeral Home" or "Clearwater & Largo Memorial Funeral Home" were sent before I could change the user's password and flush out all the queued messages. What a waste of time.

Been getting emails from the funeral home. I knew better. First it came in my junk folder amd as many funerals as I have been too in my life, they don't email you. Sick folks wilk do anything to leep from having a real job.

got one of these today from Hubbell Fun. Home in my
reg mail & didn't open as I've read all about this in newspaper. pretty scary.

This actually is an email generating from Iran. Do not open

I opened one. Have been fighting to keep my computer up and running ever since. Ran CCleaner, Eset scan, and Malwarebytes. Nothing showed up but the virus appears to start up every program known to man and totally bog the computer down. Any suggestions?

Try running Rkill first, then follow it up with Malwarebytes. Rkill will shut down anything active and allow it to be killed by anti-virus software.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/rkill/

For those chatting about the emails they're coming from being legit or not, you truly can't go by that. The email address can easily be altered – it’s not an indication of the validity of any email communication.

This is horrible....unfortunately, I received one from Hubbell in Florida and opened it. My cousin, who lives in Clearwater, was just in a horrible car accident that killed his wife. I was ready to send it to trash and then thought it might be her obituary. Hope I am okay....

I got an email also from Clearwater and Largo! I was worried and thought maybe that's the way funeral homes helped the grieving families. I clicked it but it wouldn't load. I have a brand-new iPhone 5c. Does anyone know if I'm safe?? Please???? Guess you live and learn, huh?

I clicked the link only because I live on Largo!! What are the odds. This funeral was totally believable as it is our town! The link was an error message and I hope my iphone is ok :(

Just recvd a funeral notice supposedly from Douglass Funeral Home. Recognized it as a hacker and will delete but wanted to add thus to your list.

I opened this email on my droid phone and something downloaded with a bunch of random letters but I could not find it anywhere. Can a virus like this infect a smart phone?

I receive a dozen of these nearly every day as undeliverable messages and all of them are showing the I am the sender. I hope that I do not get on some blacklist.

Received today: Funeral Notification from Douglass Funeral Home.
Deleted it.

(R) click on the link "copy link location" and paste to notebook...you can see where they WANT you to go...usually NOT the funeral home...

I received one as well from Douglass funeral home.

i received one from Douglass Funeral home and clicked the link. but i didn't run the executable file. i think i'm ok.

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