Grieving families targeted in new funeral service scam

Grieving families targeted in new funeral service scam

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Across the state, families grieving the loss of loved ones are becoming targets for a scam.

Scammers are asking the family to pay for the funeral.

"They ask the families to go to local businesses and wire money. They have asked families for credit card numbers as well as they have asked families to meet them in the parking lot of the funeral home after hours," said Charles Perine, the executive director of the Alabama Board of Funeral Service.

The scammers are calling the families, posing as employees for the funeral home, and asking for additional money for caskets and cemetery items.

"They're telling the families that there is a need for more funds to be paid to the funeral home for if the casket is too short or the vault is too small," said Perine.

He said they're dealing with a group of people with "no conscience."

"I can promise you in this time of these families lives the last thing that they need is anyone taking advantage of them and they have to understand that one day they're going to be where these families are sitting. As long as we live, we will die, and we're going to be sitting in that seat one day for our loved ones and we do not want anyone taking advantage of us," said Perine.

Lorenzo Wright, the managing embalmer at E.G. Cummings Memorial Funeral Home in Montgomery, said two of his clients were contacted by the scammers, but they didn't fall for it and immediately called the funeral home.

"They made contact back with us and we informed them that this is a fraud," said Wright.

Which is what you should do if you find yourself in a similar situation. Perine said if you do receive a suspicious phone call, to contact the funeral home directly, or go to the funeral home and speak with someone in person.

If you have any information on the scam or possible scammers, call 215-STOP. Your tip may lead to a cash reward.

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