Northern Ireland

Donegal undertakers issue warning as online fraudsters convince mourners to pay for livestreams

Vehicles and parts, tickets for events, trainers and clothing were all items often offered for sale by scammers, TSB said (Tim Goode/PA)
Online fraudsters have been convincing mourners in Donegal to enter their credit card details in order to watch livestreams of funeral pages. (Tim Goode/PA)

UNDERTAKERS in Donegal have warned that online fraudsters have hacked a family notices website to trick mourners into paying to remotely watch funeral services.

Becoming more common during the restrictions of the Covid pandemic, a webcam option for funeral services allows more people to view proceedings remotely.

Sean Murphy of Inishowen Funeral Services said that scammers are now cloning links to live streaming Facebook pages to convince people to enter their credit card details.

He has since advised the public that all funeral services will always be free to stream.

“I thought you would never see this day,” he told RTÉ's Liveline.

He explained that using information from the website, that fake Facebook accounts were set up offering a link to the live stream.

“Basically what they’re doing, they’re taking a picture of the deceased and using it as a profile picture, they’re using it as a background picture.

“Obviously they go into the Facebook page of, they go into the comments and they put the link out on the morning of the funeral, so people even as far away as Australia have contacted me about this.”

He added: “I’m just asking the public to be very vigilant at this time not to submit credit card details for funerals, they will always be streamed free.

“If it’s not on the funeral directors webpage or any other social media that’s not then it’s a fake.”

Another undertaker in Donegal, Briege, told the programme she was contacted on Wednesday by people who had been kicked out of a livestream and told it was available on another channel where they were asked to enter their credit card details.

“It’s a disgrace that they’re getting away with it, I don’t think Facebook is doing enough at the minute,” she said.

Liveline presenter Joe Duffy commented: “They know that people are grieving obviously, they know that people for whatever reason – work or location – can’t make it to a funeral.

“I suspect it’s because in Ireland our funerals happen pretty quickly…they know people are panicking a bit, they know people are upset if they want to watch the funeral of a friend or relative.”

He added: “Don’t under any circumstances, (no funeral home) will look for any money off you.”