Tagged: funeral expenses Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , funeral expenses, ,   

    Funeral home scams garner national headlines 

    Funeral home scams garner national headlines

    By Greg Collier

    You know a scam must be bad when one of the national news networks covers it. NBC News is warning its viewers and readers of one of the most despicable scams going today, the funeral home scam.

    Most people aren’t familiar with the scam, since it only targets families who have recently lost loved ones. As much as we deny it to ourselves, there will unfortunately come a day when we have to assist in laying a loved one to rest. It’s better to be aware of the scam now, then having to experience it for the first tile while you’re mourning.

    Fraudulent individuals exploit obituaries of recently departed individuals for their schemes. These obituaries often include the funeral home responsible for the deceased’s final arrangements. These scammers manipulate the situation by falsifying the funeral home’s contact number and contacting the grieving family under the pretense of representing the funeral home. Their usual approach involves asserting that there are discrepancies in the billing or that an extra insurance payment is required. They swiftly proceed to demand an instant payment via phone. Shockingly, there have been cases where these scammers go to the extent of implying that they will withhold the deceased’s remains until the payment is settled.

    In NBC News’ report, they detail the stories of two people who were targeted by scammers during the worst time of their lives. In the first story, scammers targeted a woman who had just lost her husband of 22 years the day before. They claimed she owed the funeral home an additional $5000, but she could pay $2500 first through Zelle or Apple Pay. The victim tried to make payments, but they kept getting flagged as suspicious. Luckily, her son overheard the conversation and advised her to end the call.

    In the other story, scammers called a woman making arrangements for her husband while she was at the funeral home. The scammers had spoofed the number of the funeral home and were using the name of an actual funeral home employee. The funeral director got on the phone and identified herself, which caused the scammers to hang up.

    In the regrettable circumstance of having to arrange a funeral for a cherished individual, it is advisable to secure a comprehensive breakdown of expenses from the chosen funeral home. This practice can significantly contribute to safeguarding both you and your family from falling victim to such deceptive scammers.

    Also, please keep in mind legitimate funeral homes, and most businesses, will not ask for payment through a mobile payment app like Zelle. In the unfortunate event, you receive a phone call like this while arranging a loved one’s funeral, hang up and call the funeral home directly.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , funeral expenses, , ,   

    New scam becomes disturbing trend 

    By Greg Collier

    Let’s just come right out and say it. Funeral scammers are ghouls. Most people are at their lowest emotional point when they’re confronted with having to inter a loved one. Since scammers use emotional manipulation as one of their tools, they’ve decided that when families are grieving is the best time to target them in a scam. But not just any scam, mind you. Scammers are specifically targeting the funeral home process to try to extort money from their victims. And unfortunately, this scam is starting to become even more prevalent.

    Funeral scammers will comb the obituaries of the recently deceased. Traditionally, obituaries will contain the name of the funeral home that’s taking care of the deceased’s funeral proceedings. While spoofing the funeral home’s phone number, scammers will call the deceased’s family claiming to be from the funeral home. Typically, the scammers will say an item was left off the billing or that the family needs to pay some form of additional insurance before asking for an immediate payment over the phone. In some instances, the scammers will even act like they’ll hold the deceased’s remains hostage until a payment is made.

    Recently, funeral scammers targeted a family from the Philadelphia area. Just hours after the deceased’s obituary had been published, scammers were calling the family looking for money. The scammers used a funeral home employee’s name they had gotten from the funeral home’s website. They told the family urn/casket insurance had not been purchased and would need to be done so immediately. Thankfully, the family recognized this for what it was, and hung up the call. They called the funeral home themselves just to verify they had spoken to a scammer.

    In the unfortunate event you have to plan a funeral for a loved one, it’s recommended to get an itemized statement from the funeral home. This will go a long way in helping to protect you and your family from these scammers.

    It’s a shame the grieving have to be warned about funeral scams, but unfortunately, that is the world we live in today.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , funeral expenses, ,   

    Is there any scam worse than a funeral scam? 

    Is there any scam worse than a funeral scam?

    By Greg Collier

    We’re never in a more vulnerable state than after the loss of a loved one. It’s even worse when the loss was unexpected. Nobody ever wants to arrange a funeral. Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s an inevitability. Whether it’s a spouse, a parent, or even a child, no one ever wants to have to discuss the financial details of having their loved one laid to rest. For scammers, this is just another opportunity for them to use emotional manipulation to trick grieving families into giving them money.

    In Georgia, a family almost lost $14,000 after falling prey to a funeral scammer. Some scammers keep an eye on the local obituaries. When someone passes and their obituary is published, scammers will pose as employees of the funeral home. The scammers will tell their victims there’s been an error in billing and the victim needs to pay more money. They’ll often show up at the victim’s home to collect the payment in cash or check.

    In the Georgia case, the suspects were arrested after they had difficulty trying to cash the check. In previous instances of this scam, we’ve seen scammers make it appear as if they were holding the remains of the deceased hostage until the victim made a payment.

    In order to protect yourself from such a scam, it is recommended to get an itemized bill from the funeral home that shows exactly how much services cost.

    Whenever you receive a call from someone requesting an unexpected payment, it is crucial to verify their claims. Do not automatically assume the call is authentic merely based on the displayed caller ID. Take the initiative to contact the business or agency directly, as they will provide guidance regarding the legitimacy of the caller’s demands.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , funeral expenses, , ,   

    Funeral home impersonation scam victimizes widow 

    Funeral home impersonation scam victimizes widow

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve posted some absolutely heart-wrenching scams lately. One that stands out is the scam where con artists tried to collect imaginary tax debts from the families of the recently deceased. The one we’re about to discuss is much worse. This scam tries to take advantage of the grieving before a proper funeral has even occurred.

    A woman from the San Diego Metro Area recently lost her husband at a much too young age. The husband also left behind their two-year-old son. Before her husband could even be buried, she received a call from someone saying they were with the funeral home.

    The caller asked the woman for a $50 payment, claiming it was for some type of insurance in case a funeral home worker were to get injured. The phone number was spoofed, so it appeared the call was actually coming from the funeral home.

    The caller the started pressuring the woman to make a payment then and there over the phone. She was told that she couldn’t come down to the funeral home, she couldn’t pay in cash, and had to pay by credit card over the phone.

    After not giving the caller any money, they called back again to tell the grieving widow that they were refusing her service because she was so ‘rude’ to them. The panic she experienced must have been unimaginable while trying to figure out what to do after a funeral home has refused service.

    To her credit, she made some phone calls and determined the whole thing was a scam.

    When someone is grieving, they’re at their most vulnerable time of their life. As we know, scammers prefer to target the vulnerable, hoping that their victims are in such an emotional state they’re not thinking straight.

    Any time you receive a call from someone asking for any kind of surprise payment, verify their story. Don’t believe the call is legitimate just because the caller ID shows the correct number. Call the business or agency directly, and they’ll be able to advise you on the veracity of the caller’s request.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , funeral expenses, ,   

    Scammers are combing obituaries for new victims 

    By Greg Collier

    As we have discussed before, if you’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19, you could be eligible to have part or all of the funeral expenses paid for under FEMA’s American Rescue Plan. Under the plan you could be reimbursed up to $9,000 for funeral expenses. As you can probably guess, this has led scammers to try to take advantage of the program. In order to accomplish that, scammers need not only the information of the deceased, but the information from the surviving family members as well.

    The way scammers achieve this is by posing as FEMA agents or the organization itself. Scammers will send out robocalls, emails and text messages posing as FEMA asking victims to contact them. Any contact information the victims are given does not go to FEMA but to the scammers instead. The victims will not only be asked for personal information concerning themselves and the deceased., but they may be asked for an upfront payment disguised as a ‘processing fee’. It’s already been documented that scammers have tried to obtain the death certificates of COVID-19 victims so they can try to claim the program money for themselves.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers are even combing the local obituaries to get as much information about the deceased and their families as possible. However, this scam does have its drawbacks if you know a couple of items of information. Government agencies like FEMA very rarely initiate first contact, and if they do, they will do so through traditional channels like postal mail.

    If you have lost a loved one to COVID-19 and require financial assistance for funeral expenses, you have our most sincere condolences. If you would like to apply for FEMA’s assistance you can do so at FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance webpage.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , funeral expenses,   

    Was a death certificate stolen for a FEMA scam? 

    Was a death certificate stolen for a FEMA scam?

    By Greg Collier

    Back in February, we discussed how scammers stopped a federal assistance program from being rolled out. As of the time of our previous post, FEMA had not started their funeral assistance program for people who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Due to the amount of fraud that was affecting state unemployment systems during the pandemic, FEMA decided to hold back while they came up with a potential solution. Earlier this month, FEMA announced that they would begin processing applications for funeral assistance, and it looks like the scammers may have already started to try to take advantage of the system.

    A woman in Tennessee lost her husband late last year to COVID-19. He was working the frontline as a nurse when he contracted the virus. Even though it’s been a number of months, his widow is still dealing with the loss of her husband. She recently received a call asking if she had sent her husband’s death certificate to Texas. She had not and believes that someone was using her husband’s death certificate to try to apply for FEMA benefits in his name. When this potential scam was first announced we wondered if all it would take to scam FEMA would be a forged or stolen death certificate.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that you can do to protect yourself from this scam. If you ever had the unfortunate experience of arranging a funeral for a loved one and handling their estate, you know that you have to provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate to a number of different people. The only thing that FEMA seems to be recommending at this point is that if you’ve been scammed you can call FEMA at 800-621-3362.

    Sadly, this again shows that scammers will try to take advantage of any situation no matter how devastating it may be to the victim. When scammers reach a new low like this, we’re both surprised and yet not surprised. Scammers know no bounds of human decency and will try to take advantage of anyone as long as it can make them some money.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , funeral expenses, ,   

    Scams can bring federal programs to their knees 

    Scams can bring federal programs to their knees

    By Greg Collier

    Prior to the start of the pandemic, many of us looked at scammers as minor annoyances. “They might fool a few people, but they’d never be able to fool me.” many of us said. Then when the pandemic happened in full force, scammers were everywhere. Not only did every old scam have a new COVID-19 twist to it, but the scammers were now attacking federal and state governments to the tune of billions of dollars. You may not be fooled by a scammer, but as the unemployment scam showed us, you may not have a choice. Now, a federal relief program has yet to roll out due to the scams that may surround it.

    FEMA has a fund to help pay for funerals for people who were lost in certain disasters. This includes deaths related to COVID-19 for 2020. However, here we are near March 2021 and FEMA has yet to issue any assistant payments for these funeral expenses. With half a million people having passed from COVID-19, FEMA realizes that this could open them to the same amount of fraud that has affected the unemployment system. FEMA is working with the CDC to try to find a way to make sure that these assistant payments get to the people who actually need them.

    All it could take is a forged death certificate for scammers to start trying to collect money from FEMA. And with states reporting deaths in different ways, this could lead to a lot of confusion. The other aspect this scam shares with the unemployment scam is that FEMA will be dealing with a record amount of funeral reimbursement requests since the country has never dealt with this many deaths before due to one single disaster.

    If you’ve ever had to suddenly plan for a loved one’s funeral, you’ll know how expensive funerals can be. Thanks to scammers, more people will be out of more money until more safeguards are put in place to prevent such widespread fraud.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc