Telephone fraudsters have stooped to a new level by preying on grieving relatives who are making arrangements for their deceased loved ones’ funerals. These criminals contact the families, posing as representatives from the funeral homes, and employ intimidation tactics, warning that unless an instant payment is made, funeral services or cremations might be revoked.
The scheme commences with a process of meticulously searching through recent obituaries in order to locate families and acquire pertinent information such as the funeral home’s name and even the names of directors involved.
The fraudsters utilize various approaches. Some convey to the family that issues have arisen with their credit card, while others claim that supplementary funds are required to ensure the timely continuation of the funeral arrangements, as reported by the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association.
Additional tactics involve instructing the victim to communicate that unless funds are dispatched, the funeral services will be revoked. Alternatively, they endeavor to persuade individuals that the money being sent is intended for insurance coverage to safeguard the services in the event of unforeseen circumstances. The industry association notes that reports of this scam have surfaced most recently in California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Florida also fell victim to these scammers.
Following the passing of her husband due to lung cancer, Lisa Ann Motto, a widow residing in Bonita Springs, experienced a distressing incident. She was contacted by an individual who insisted on the immediate transfer of $5,000 or an initial payment of $2,500 through platforms like Zelle or Apple Pay. The purpose cited for these payments was allegedly tied to insurance requirements associated with the cremation process.
The funeral establishment responsible for managing her husband’s memorial proceedings is collaborating with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Fort Myers to conduct an inquiry into the matter, as stated in her Facebook post.
To identify and evade such schemes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a range of recommendations. The agency recommends resisting the urge to make hasty decisions, emphasizing that reputable enterprises allow individuals the necessary time to deliberate.