Telephone scammers are preying on vulnerable grieving families during their time of loss, warns the Federal Trade Commission. These heartless scammers have devised a new tactic by posing as representatives from funeral homes and using various methods to extort money from mourning family members. The scam involves carefully combing through obituaries to extract information about the deceased person’s family, including the name of the funeral home and directors.
Once armed with these details, the scammers then call the grieving families and make false claims, such as threatening to cancel funeral services or cremations unless an immediate deposit is made. In some instances, they even go as far as impersonating the funeral home, convincing victims that there is a problem with their credit card or requesting additional funds to ensure that the services proceed as planned. They may also manipulate victims by insisting on payment for insurance to cover the funeral expenses.
The International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association has reported several cases of this despicable scam in multiple states, including California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Lisa Ann Motto, a bereaved wife, fell victim to this scam just one day after her husband’s passing. She received a call demanding an outrageous amount of money – either $5,000 or an initial payment of $2,500 through platforms like Zelle or Apple Pay. The scammers falsely claimed it was necessary for “insurance purposes” related to her husband’s cremation. Lisa has taken immediate action against this crime by involving the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, who are now cooperating with her husband’s funeral home to investigate the incident further.
To combat these scams, the Federal Trade Commission advises individuals to remain calm and resist the pressure to act immediately. They stress the importance of never making any payments through wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or checks. Instead, families are urged to contact funeral homes directly using the official phone numbers available on their websites. Everyone is encouraged to report any fraudulent activity to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
These scams not only exploit grieving family members during an emotionally fragile time but also tarnish the reputation of genuine funeral homes and the funeral industry as a whole. It is crucial for everyone to exercise caution and stay informed to protect themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to these heartless scammers.
“Social media scholar. Reader. Zombieaholic. Hardcore music maven. Web fanatic. Coffee practitioner. Explorer.”