scammers now It takes advantage of people who are at their most vulnerable moment, pretending to be from a funeral home in order to extort money from bereaved loved ones, according to officials.
“Can you go down?” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wrote in the advisory, explaining that scammers claim the funeral will be canceled unless the person sends more money.
“If there were a scammers’ Hall of Shame, this room would be in the top 10, without a doubt,” the FTC said, advising people approached for more money to avoid acting immediately because legitimate companies would give customers time to respond.
The FTC also says that you should contact the funeral home directly about any financial issues and never send someone a wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift card. And never file a file check and send money back to someone.
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Lisa Ann Muto told NBC News she received a scam call the day after her husband of 22 years died of cancer last month.
“He said I needed to put down a deposit for insurance purposes, and that was urgent,” she explained of the scammer who tried to scare her into paying $5,000 and said it could be transferred through Zelle or Apple Pay.
She said the scammer was going to have her send money via PayPal when her attempts via Zelle and Apple Pay were reported as suspicious, but her son overheard her conversation and told her to hang up.
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“They catch you at such a vulnerable moment,” she said. “There’s a special place in hell for people like that.”
Hope Etherton, a funeral director in Alabama, said one of her clients received a call from a fraudster claiming to be Etherton’s brother Blake Chandler, another funeral director at the funeral home, while she was with the client.
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“I told him who I was and that Blake was my brother,” Atherton told NBC, explaining that her client handed her her cellphone. “As soon as I told him about it, he hung up. I’m glad the family was here when it happened.”
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