By: Alyssa Marsico

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Email scams claiming a long lost relative wants to leave you all of their finances and all you have to do is just send all your credit and banking information to claim the money have been circulating for years.

Well now, scam artists have stepped up their game taking the email to a new low.

Now people are receiving emails from what looks like a funeral home saying something along the lines of, “we are sorry to inform you but a close friend of yours has passed away, click the link below for all the funeral and viewing information.”

Once you click the link, Malware infects your computer.

Colleen Tressler, a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission, joined Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News to talk about this new style of “phishing” for information.

“Malware can be used to control a computer, forcing it to send spam emails or become part of a bot net. It could collect personal information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, tax information to commit fraud,” Said Tressler.

If you receive an email similar to this, the best way to be safe is to contact the actual funeral home first before you click on the link that could infect your computer.

The FTC became aware of this new scheme in January and jumped on it right away alerting people what signs to look out for. Tressler tells us how consumers can stay on top of the latest scams and to constantly be in the know.

“We encourage people to sign up for scam alerts at the FTC. It’s free, it’s easy you just go to and that way you can get alerts on a daily basis, the scam of the day so to speak. We have another website,, where you can learn more about online security and malware specifically,” said Tressler.

You can hear the whole interview here:

You can also listen to the KDKA Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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