Losing a loved one is a devastating experience. You feel lost and a sense of emptiness growing inside of you as you know that there’s nothing you can do about it. Unfortunately, it can get worse.
Tons of scammers prey on other people’s sorrow and steal from them when they’re the most vulnerable. There are many different ways they harass people for money, so you need to be extremely careful.
In the article below, you’ll find five scams to avoid after the death of a person close to you. This basic knowledge will allow you to see through crooks’ intentions and help you protect yourself.
Inheritance scam is a situation when scammers pretend to be a law firm that reaches out to you to inform you that you had a distant relative who died and has left you real estate or money. They create a backstory and make you believe that you indeed had an uncle Bernie who lived in Ohio.
These crooks have many different ways to convince you. There are text message inheritance scams, letters and emails from a law firm, and simple phone calls. But how do they make money?
At first, scammers send a victim a request for a small amount of money to cover administration fees. Usually, it’s something between 20 and 50 dollars. Not much in exchange for real estate or millions of dollars, right?
But it doesn’t end there. After you pay the “administration fee,” scammers request access to your bank account to send you the promised amount of money. And once they gain it, you can say goodbye to all your savings.
Remember when Dwight from The Office exclaimed that identity theft is not a joke and millions of families suffer every year? He was right. More than 15 million people become victims of identity theft scams every year. And who is the easiest target? The deceased, of course.
After all, they can’t report any fraud or notice something fishy is happening with their bank account. Tons of scammers go through obituaries and see whether they can easily find addresses, birthdates, names, and many other useful personal information.
With that knowledge, they can gain access to existing accounts or open new ones. Scammers can also file taxes and then collect their refunds. That’s why you should limit any personal information on your relative’s obituary.
Secret scams are common among cybercriminals, who search the internet to find newly-deceased and use them to steal your money. But what exactly is a secret scam?
It’s a situation where scammers claim to be in possession of certain documents, DVDs, or other storages with confidential data that the deceased person has left behind. They usually demand you to pay them a certain amount to gain access to them.
You should never believe any emails with any demands from strangers and report them immediately to the police.
Debt Collection Scam
You’ve probably heard of situations where scammers phoned people and demanded them to pay their dead relative’s debts. You have to be extremely careful, as they usually did their homework and know plenty of personal information about the deceased.
They can also claim to have the deceased belonging you need to pay for if you want them back. Moreover, aside from sounding legitimate, those scammers often threaten people with legal actions.
Be careful and don’t fall for their “official tone.” Do a background check and ask them to give you their details and the name of the company. And if you see that they’re scammers, report them to the authorities.
It may not be a scam per se, but some funeral homes charge their clients extraordinary amounts of money. They’ll offer you the most expensive caskets upfront, knowing that you want to take care of everything as quickly as possible.
They may also charge you for additional services or force you things you don’t need. You should always choose reliable funeral homes and always ask for the estimated cost upfront to avoid any additional payments for services they haven’t mentioned before.
Scammers will do everything to get to your money. They don’t care whether you’re grieving and feel lost after someone you loved died. Death-related scams are common, and it’s crucial to know what they look like and how to protect yourself against them.
If you receive any suspicious email, letter, or phone call, report it to the authorities as soon as possible. Outsmarting scammers is much easier than you think, but it’s also vital not to underestimate them.