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FTC alerts consumers to fake funeral notice scam

6:19 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- They look like email condolences from legitimate funeral homes. But the Federal Trade Commission says scammers use the name of law abiding businesses on bogus messages.

"What the scammers do is they send thousands, possibly millions of emails to people and hope to catch some that are actually experiencing a situation with a friend or relative where they're concerned about their health," says Nat Wood.

Open that fake funeral notification and viruses and spyware could get installed on your computer.

Wood says, "They could get tax information, social security numbers, credit card information, really anything you have on your computer that is valuable to them."

Scammers sent emails using a Texas funeral home. The company posted a warning on its website saying that "a fake funeral notice appearing to come from Eubank Funeral Home is not from Eubank Funeral Home."

CBS News correspondent Susan McGinnis received an email with Eubank's name on it. She did not open it.

"Scammers are always trying to stay one step ahead. They've always got come on's. No matter how compelling the message is, don't click on links and unsolicited emails.

If you do open one of these emails and your computer is compromised, officials recommend you download virus security software immediately.

The FTC says another way to verify a notification is legitimate is to contact the funeral home by phone or call a family member to verify the information.

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