The death of a loved one is a vulnerable time for nearly everyone. We are all subject to a flood of emotions that can range from anger to sadness. Unfortunately, there is a cottage industry of people who prey on people when they are at their most vulnerable. These scammers shamelessly wait at every stage of the grieving process to take advantage of those who are overwhelmed by grief. So, if you need to plan a funeral or help someone who is, here are some of the common scams out there and our tips for how to avoid them.
- The Grieving Widow(er) Scam: According to the BBB, scammers will sometimes read through the obits to find their targets and then attend the funeral as a guest. They will then claim that the deceased owed them or their phony agency money that must be repaid by his/her survivors. If someone you do not know approaches you making this claim, check him or her out by conducting a background check.
- The Casket Gasket Scam: Scammers here make the claim that they can sell you a casket that prevents water from seeping into it thus preserving the remains better than a traditional coffin would. Don’t pay for such an extra feature. Everything deteriorates over time. Protect yourself or your friend or loved one by knowing that there is no casket that can preserve the body or casket indefinitely.
- The Embalming Scam: No state law requires the embalming of a body for every It is mainly done when a body will not be either buried or cremated in a relatively short time. Nevertheless, it can be a huge money-maker for funeral homes that may push this as a feature. Consider alternatives to embalming if this is brought up by the funeral home director outside of the two exceptions noted above.
- Funeral Packages Customized To Your ‘Hood’ Scam: Here a funeral home director will ask you more questions than necessary about your home, lifestyle and financial background. They will often also ask you about the neighborhood you live in so that they can get idea of how much they can charge you for. If they determine that you are well off they may charge you more. You can avoid this and other schemes by using the general advice below.
General Advice for Avoiding Funeral and Cemetery Scams:
- Make a plan
- Resist pressure from funeral directors and others during this time
- Read carefully the writing in all services/products you are offered before signing
- Shop around.
Finally, it is a sad fact that there are people out there who will prey upon people in their darkest hour. However, you can honor your loved one with an engraved wind chime. A memorial wind chime is a relatively inexpensive and simple way to honor a loved one’s memory that does not involve subjecting yourself to a scam.