Unfortunate as it may be, most people will end up conducting business with a funeral home at some point during their life, sometimes unexpectedly. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association, 62.5 percent of consumers felt it was important to communicate funeral plans and wishes to family members, however, only 21.4 percent had done so prior to their death.
Scammers are now taking advantage of families during this taxing time. Given that the median cost for a funeral with viewing and burial services is roughly $7,181 with a metal casket accounting for $2,395 of that final cost, this new scam makes a stressful situation even more so.
A local funeral home has become the target of a scam call circulating in the Madison County area. Customers received a call from a scammer claiming to be an employee of the funeral home. The customer was then informed that they must pay for their casket immediately or it will no longer be available to them for their loved one. With the scammer spoofing the funeral home number, customers believed the call legitimate and took out their credit cards to pay, only to find out later that the phone call was not from the funeral home at all.
If you receive a call like this, consider the following to avoid becoming victim to this scam:
- Verify the caller is representing the funeral home. This can be done by asking to speak with supervisor or offering to call them back using a trusted number you have for the business.
- Do not give out payment or personally identifiable information over the phone.
- Do not give into threats. Most of the time, threats are made to create a sense of urgency, to collect bogus payments – not allowing the consumer to think clearly about the situation.
Source: BBB of North Alabama and National Funeral Directors Association
To view more statistics, visit NFDA Consumer Survey: Funeral Planning Not a Priority for Americans and NFDA Statistics
Report all scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP and the Better Business Bureau at 256-533-1640.