We’re hearing about a new scheme that involves imposters preying on people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The imposters pretend to be from the funeral home and say that, unless the family pays more money immediately, the funeral will be canceled. Can you imagine anything more despicable?
If there was a Scammers Hall of Shame, this one would make the Top 10 List, without question.
Here’s how to spot and avoid this scam:
Resist the pressure to act immediately. Honest businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
Contact the funeral home directly. Use a phone number that you know is real, not one you got from the scammer’s text, email, or phone call. If you don’t know it, you’ll find it on the General Price List you got from the funeral home.
Know how scammers tell you to pay. Scammers want to get your money immediately, and in a way that makes it hard to track them down and hard for you to get your money back. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or a gift card. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
If someone tried to rip you off, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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Thanks for telling us about the scam
Yes, this is true. A very close friend just lost a family member. I was so shocked to see and hear about all the ghastly non-sense associated with the person's passing. The deceased individual was a member of law enforcement. That apparently made the entire scam situation worse. An individual from India created and posted fake news reports on YouTube. Fake websites designed to trick people popped up in Google search results. "Despicable" is an appropriate term. Thank you to the FTC for watching out for us.
I’m glad that I signed up to receive these alerts. I’m sharing with my family and friends.
They also call and say they are with the funeral home and want to make sure all of the information on the death certificate are correct. But they are not the funeral home.
I appreciate your article. It's not always as simple as "Use a phone number that you know is real, not one you got from the scammer’s text, email, or phone call." If a consumer's browser is affected by scammers, and unbeknownst to consumer, the consumer is led to believe that the number shown through a search engine is, in fact, legitimate. I experienced a situation just yesterday (06/16/2023) whereby I telephoned Bank of America disputes 877-337-8389 as advertised within a personal checking account, logged in secure with authentication. The callback option offered in lieu of hold time prompts a Voip callback. I was able to gain trust with Voip caller who confirmed she was NOT with Bank of America, but with a company in Nevada. When I asked her if it was Apeiron, she said yes and hung up. Consumers NEED to be aware that spoof, scams, etc happen EVEN if they call a number shown as a legitimate number
My Gmail account is hacked & my family's....can Gmail or call cuz the people copy cat are voice & identity....
We are saddened to learn of this....
In Metro Washington,DC
For over 5 generations since the mid-1870s our goal as bereavement care ministers has always been to serve every family that calls upon us with the greatest and hightest levels of professionalism and respect during there most trying life hours.
I had a scammer call me immediately after the death of my husband in 2006 and tell me he was his insurance agent from a past job (places employed is in the obituary). He said unless I provided a charge card immediately my husbands coverage he had paid for years would be canceled. Scammers are cruel, greedy people. I told the funeral director and they said they now refuse to provide any info to people on the phone because scamming widows was big business.