Better Business Bureau:
TYLER, TX - January 28, 2014 - Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Central East Texas is cautioning consumers about an email notifying recipients about a "friend's" upcoming funeral. The email further instructs the recipient to click a link to view more details about the invitation and the ceremony. BBB is advising consumers that this is a bogus invitation intended to download malware to the recipient's computer. If installed, this malware may connect the infected computer to a botnet and install further malware.
BBB contacted the funeral home, who indicated they were aware of the malicious emails, but were not aware where they originated. It is believed the individual(s) sending the emails hijacked what sounded like a trustworthy business name. The company has since placed a notice on their website.
Impostor scams can be conducted by email, phone calls, or at your door. Scam artists pose as companies, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and friends and relatives to gain access to your financial data or personal information- sometimes installing malicious viruses on your computer along the way.
"Although impostor scams are nothing new, they are becoming more sophisticated ", said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. "One common thread with many scams is the attempt to evoke emotion - fear, excitement, and in this case, alarm and compassion - so that the potential victim does not make logical decisions, giving the schemer access to the information they are seeking."
BBB suggests the following tips for consumers to stay safe online:
· Protect your computer and your personal information from malware with a firewall and an anti-virus program; update those programs regularly.
· Update your operating system and web browser software regularly.
· Protect your passwords. Keep them in a secure place. Create passwords that have at least eight characters and use numbers, symbols and letters. Do not use the same password for each online account that you have.
· Back up important files.
· Never click on links or download attachments from individuals or organizations you don't know.
· If you received this email and clicked on the link or downloaded attachments, your computer information may be compromised. Immediately run anti-malware and anti-virus programs, forward the email to ic3.gov, and contact a reputable computer repair technician to further examine your computer for issues.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraud or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373