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Heartless scammers target the live stream of Alasdair Rhind’s funeral service today

By Scott Maclennan

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Cllr Alasdair Rhind's sudden death has left people shocked.
Cllr Alasdair Rhind's sudden death has left people shocked.

The funeral service of the late Tain and Easter Ross Councillor Alasdair Rhind has apparently been targeted by scammers trying to profit off mourners tuning in to the live stream online.

The scammers have set-up a Facebook profile named “Alasdair Rhind Funeral Service Live” where if you click on the link to watch the service online you have to login and pay.

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The alarm was raised by a councillor – who wished to remain anonymous out of respect for the late Cllr Rhind – but still wished to alert people to the risk of losing money to the “sickening” scam.

The real link to the funeral was on the Alasdair Rhind Funeral Director website and it can be found by clicking here.

The fake Facebook profile set up to misdirect mourners to a paywall at the heart of a scam.
The fake Facebook profile set up to misdirect mourners to a paywall at the heart of a scam.

So far the account has 81 friends online who may or may not be aware that the account appears to be false. A blurb on the page says: “This person has created a new type of profile that doesn't have to use the name that they go by in everyday life. These profiles have visible @usernames.”

The Inverness Courier first broke news of the new method of trying to scam people in mid-February and then again in March when we revealed that funeral directors across the Highlands were asking people to be ‘vigilant’ after scammers targeted the bereaved.

When deaths are being announced online, 'bots' are then sending messages to family members of lost loved ones, saying they can watch a live stream of the funeral online – but they must pay for it.

One of the people approached was Halde Pottinger from Inverness, who lost his 42-year-old brother a few weeks ago.

Working as a humanist celebrant for funerals and weddings, Halde was aware of the scammers, but was still shocked to receive five messages from fraudulent bot accounts on the day of his brother’s funeral.

He said: “My brother passed away and on the morning of his funeral I had five requests from five accounts, which had his name and photos. The scammer already had names of my families on their friends list, and were sending links for me to be able to ‘watch’ the live stream of the funeral.”

He added: “It’s horrendous. It is directly targeting families at their lowest and taking advantage.”

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