Funeral directors warn of scam email containing malware virus

Posted Jan. 28, 2014, at 7:04 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2014, at 9:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Funeral directors around the nation are warning the public about scam emails that began to surface earlier this month and purport to contain information about funeral services.

Jessica Koth, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin-based National Funeral Director Association, said she learned of the scam through a news article published by the Cleveland Plains Dealer, which reported that scam emails lift the name and logo off of real funeral home websites in the hopes of getting recipients to click on a malware-infected link.

“It’s kind of been popping up all over the country,” Koth said, who acknowledged that she has received two scam emails within the past two days. The national organization has posted an alert on its website warning recipients not to get duped.

According to the post, the scam emails contain subject lines such as “funeral notification” or “passing of your friend” and appear to be an invitation to a funeral or memorial service for an unnamed friend or relative. Recipients are encouraged to click a link for more information.

Koth said those who have questions about scheduled funeral services should contact the funeral home that is handling the arrangements.

The Maine Funeral Directors Association and individual funeral homes, including Brookings-Smith of Bangor, are helping to spread the word about the scam.

James Fernald of Brookings-Smith said he was not aware of any local cases in an email Tuesday to the Bangor Daily News.

MFDA Executive Director Sally Belanger, however, said that a funeral director in Guilford had received a suspicious email earlier this week seeking participation in an employment survey sponsored by the national association. She said she checked with the national headquarters and learned that no such survey was being conducted.

The subject line of that email said “Clues that indicate an employee is quitting,” Belanger said.

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