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Scammers target emotions with funeral hoax

Cranbrook residents have been hit by a scam that comes in an emailed funeral notice, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The local bureau is warning people not to let their compassion coerce them into a condolence scam.

People have been receiving an email with "funeral notification" as the subject lines. The email looks legitimate because scammers using realistic logos, business names and email addresses.

The message offers condolences on the recent passing of "your friend", whose name is not specified.

You are then prompted to click on a link for the details of the upcoming "life service celebration".

If you click on the link, you will be re-directed to a foreign domain, which acts as a gateway for scammers to install harmful malware onto your computer. If this happens, scammers could have access to the personal information stored on your device.

According to Get Cyber Safe, there are an estimated 156 million phishing emails sent every day, with the fraudulent funeral notice as the latest version.

"People receive countless emails each day, which is why scammers try to grab your attention with something as serious as the death of a loved one," she said. "If no one in your family or circle of friends has passed then you should delete the email. But if by chance you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, contact your friends and family about the funeral arrangements."

BBB provides consumers with these common red flags of email phishing scams:

• Don't believe what you see. As in the example above, scammers can easily copy a real business' colours, logo and even email address.

• Hover over links to check their source. Place your mouse over hyper-linked text and the true destination will appear.

• Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments. As always, do not click on links or open the files in emails unless you know the sender and are expecting it.

• Beware of pop-ups. Some pop-ups are designed to look like they've originated from your computer. If you see a pop-up that warns of a problem that needs to be fixed with an extreme level of urgency, it may be a scam.

• Watch for poor grammar and spelling. Scam emails often are riddled with typos and usually indicate that English is not the writer's primary language.

• Ignore calls for immediate action. Scam emails try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don't fall for it!

• Update your antivirus. Regularly updating your security software will go a long way in protecting your computer should you happen to click on a malicious link.

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