funeral notice can be deadly — for your computer
Colleen Tressler, consumer education specialist with the Federal
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[February 28, 2014]
WASHINGTON — 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.
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
Don't click on any
links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent
it and what it is.
install software only from websites you know and trust.
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Make sure your
browser security setting is high enough to detect
Use a pop-up
blocker and don't click on any links within pop-ups.
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.
[By COLLEEN TRESSLER,