Don’t Make This Grave Mistake

by Melissa Craib

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Funeral Scam Email sent to Edinburgh PR agency

GRIEF-STRICKEN Scots trying to cut costs are being urged not to fall foul to a new funeral scam.

The warning, from cyber security advisers at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), follows the discovery of a raft of fraudulent emails targeting people planning funeral arrangements.

Known as a phishing scam, attackers send a finely crafted email to the victim’s account – pretending to be from a legitimate source in the hope of gaining sensitive, personal information.

Examples identified in recent weeks have seen emails designed to appear to come from a legitimate ‘prepaid funeral planning’ company. Although the majority of people would ignore this email, it is feared those who have recently lost someone and whose emotions are frayed may be sucked in.

Calum Hall, an ethical hacker with the SBRC, said while this is a very specific scam and will no doubt have a very miniscule success rate, it is a telling example of how cyber criminals will take advantages of people’s human frailties.

He said: “These fraudulent emails are often highly convincing, but they do present tell-tale signs about their true nature which can act as strong warning signs.

“The most important thing to remember is if the email isn’t expected, then it should be inspected.

“By doing simple things such as checking the address of the email sender, or by checking the URL link before visiting the website, users can significantly reduce the risks of being caught out.

“If the user is ever in any real doubt about the legitimacy of the email, then they should visit the services legitimate website and check their account for any possible discrepancies – you really can’t be too careful.

“People need to ensure that they do not allow their emotions to cloud their judgement online, even if something does appear legitimate, it is better to be safe than sorry.”

Tips for spotting a spam email –

  • Right click on the sender details to see the real address of the sender.
  • Don’t click on any links. Again right click on the link and copy the URL, then paste this in to a word document to see where the link is trying to take you.
  • If you think the email is spam, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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