Warning Alert: Beware of Latest Fraud Scheme

Scammers Pretending to Be Funeral Homes: Protect Your Finances

Financial expert Clark Howard is warning consumers about a despicable scam that targets people in their most vulnerable moments: when they are grieving the recent loss of a loved one. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that if there were a “Hall of Shame for Scammers,” this one would be on the top 10 list. Be cautious of this scam Alert issued for funeral scam/PHOTO: Shutterstock

Clark references a report by NBC News about a growing scam involving criminals pretending to be funeral homes and requesting upfront payments. The article tells the story of a recently widowed individual who was almost scammed out of $2,500 through Zelle and Apple Pay. “She was completely caught, tried to send the money, and it turns out she couldn’t,” says Clark. Her movement was flagged as suspicious. And minutes later, her son told her, “Hang up the phone!” and she did. Later on, it turned out to be completely false. This is how the funeral scam works Alert issued for funeral scam/PHOTO: Shutterstock

Criminals take advantage of the loved ones of the recently deceased by perusing online obituaries. Posing as funeral home employees, scammers call these individuals and tell them they need to make a deposit for funeral arrangements. To make matters worse, scammers appear legitimate because they can hide their real phone number by “spoofing” a local funeral home’s number. “The phone caller ID will have the funeral home’s name,” says Clark. So, they caught you in your moment of sadness and grief and take advantage. How to protect yourself from this fraud Alert issued for funeral scam/PHOTO: Shutterstock

“Criminals are scanning all these posts and then they start reaching out, one after another” “…they’re really well-trained to be very empathetic,” says Clark about the scammers. “And they’re so good at being bad.” But you can be good at spotting these scams. Here’s how you can do it… Never trust an unknown number PHOTO: Shutterstock

Before someone from an unknown number even asks you for money, you could be a victim of a scam if you keep talking to them. And revealing information about yourself. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow Clark’s rule about unknown phone numbers: “Consider following my rule,” he says. “It’s a simple rule: if I don’t recognize the number as someone I know, I don’t answer the call.” If someone calling from an unknown number claims to be from the funeral home, hang up and call the funeral home directly from a verified number you find on their website. Watch out for “urgent” calls PHOTO: Shutterstock

“These people have a lot of audacity,” says Clark, “so you need to know that scams work by creating a sense of urgency. ‘You must do this now.’ And before you have a chance to really think about it, you end up having your money stolen.” The FTC says, “Resist the pressure to act immediately. Honest companies will give you time to make a decision. Anyone pressuring you to pay or give out your personal information is a scammer.” Pay attention to how they ask you to pay Alert issued for funeral scam/PHOTO: Shutterstock

A key clue to determine if it’s a scam or not is the payment method they request. “Scammers want to get your money quickly, in a way that makes it hard to trace them and difficult for you to get your money back,” says the FTC. “Never pay someone who insists you pay by wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or a gift card. …And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.” Tags: Death, Money Related Article