In case you receive an email that informs you of the passing of a close friend, don’t freak out. It’s possible that no one close to you has died, and that you are just targeted by cybercriminals or scammers.
According to Symantec experts, after the holidays, spammers started sending out various types of malicious emails. Most of them are about parcel delivery failures. However, there’s one even more interesting.
The fake emails carry the subject line “Death and funeral announcement,” and they purport to come from one Nicholas Emerson, who is apparently the “Funeral Home Secretary.”
The scam notification informs recipients of the following:
“Hereby we want to share your sorrow for your dear friend who passed away on Friday, January 10, 2014. You are cordially invited to express your sympathy in memory of your friend at a celebration of life service that will be held on Monday, January 13, 2014 at the Ocker Funeral Home, Arkansas.”
Recipients are instructed to click on a link for more information about the memorial service. In reality, the link points to a website that serves something malicious.
The websites we’ve seen belong to small organizations. They’re probably not properly secured, allowing cybercriminals to easily hack them and abuse them for their schemes.
In case you come across such emails, act with caution. If you’ve already clicked on the link, it’s possible that your computer has become infected with malware. Scan your device with an updated antivirus solution to make sure it’s clean.
The emails that will be sent out over the upcoming period will likely contain an updated date and possible a different funeral home. However, the template will probably remain mostly the same.