Sick Facebook development after young girl dies unexpectedly in her sleep

Zali June Breitkreutz passed away suddenly from a brain haemorrhage. Days later a fake Facebook page in her name was reaching out to family.

Days after the sudden death of their eight-year old daughter a "heartbroken" family have been forced to issue a warning after a fake Facebook account posing as the young girl surfaced online, with scammers appearing to attempt to swindle money from vulnerable loved ones.

Year 4 student Zali June Breitkreutz unexpectedly passed away in her sleep last week after suffering a brain bleed, known as a intracerebral haemorrhage, and her family are lost without her "shining light".

"Zali was a ray of sunshine in our life, always singing, cartwheeling and making us laugh," her dad Sean Breitkreutz wrote online. "Driving us crazy, setting us off and pushing our buttons were a daily routine."

"The past days have been a little darker (and a lot quieter)."

Left, Zali June Breitkreutz sticks her tongue out which is coloured blue from lollies and gestures the peace sign. Right, she smiles while holding her dad Sean's hand at a shopping mall.
Townsville schoolgirl Zali June Breitkreutz, 8, died in her sleep after suffering a brain haemorrhage last week. Source: Facebook

Sean shared that "everyone" was welcome to her funeral in Townsville and encouraged attendees to wear "something bright" — even those who intended to follow via the live stream.

Fake profile sent scam live stream to loved ones

After an outpouring of condolences the family were quickly notified that a Facebook profile under Zali's name was interacting with loved ones and sending friend requests, with an illegitimate memorial group created and a fake live stream link sent to people who planned to virtually attend the funeral. The family were forced to respond.

"Anyone who has received a friend request from 'Zali June Breitkreutz' — this is not a profile that Courtney [Zali's mum] or I have set up nor have we set up a funeral group, or will we be setting up any such group," Sean wrote. "Please DO NOT click on the live link for the funeral."

There has been a rise in the number of scammers taking advantage of funeral live streams across the country. Scammers issue a fake link and those attempting to view the live stream are told they can only access it once bank details are entered — with MP Peta Murphy's funeral targeted with a similar scam in December.

Zali's funeral took place on Thursday and it is unknown if any friends or family faced issues with the live stream. Yahoo News has contacted Queensland Police for further information.

Scammers taking advantage of grieving families and friends

This is not the first time a grieving Aussie family has contended with scammers attempting to capitalise from the death of a loved one, with a similar high-profile situation occurring in 2020. Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry was forced to denounce a fundraising page which was illegitimately set up in her partner's name after their 33-year old daughter passed away suddenly.

In 2019 a Western Australian mum also had to warn others that a fundraising page had been created after her 11-year old died in a vehicle collision. "In this tragic time someone has hacked me and started a GoFund Me," mum Jessie Forrest wrote online.

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