Funeral Scams: An Overview
In a time of immense grief, the last thing you’d want to endure is being subjected to a funeral home scam. Thousands of innocent people are scammed yearly for money, information, and personal data. While the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule did bring some relief to the American masses, scams still occur routinely. Over the course of this article, we shall shed light on the various forms of scams pertaining to funeral services, funeral costs, and even funeral insurance.
Common Pre-paid Funeral Scams (And How to Avoid Them)
As and when you are required to plan a funeral, it is vital that you plan the funeral in advance, but refrain from making any advance payments. This is because prepaid scams are quite a menace, often leading to scams of varying natures.
- Pre-Paid Funeral Along with Services Offered: While the market does possess legal pre-paid funeral plan services, there exist a large number of scamsters – those who sell you a funeral package and ask for an advance payment on the same. Make sure that when you are making funeral arrangements, you stay away from making any payments to third-party agencies.
How to Avoid: In order to avoid such a scam, make sure you review the ratings and customer feedback on the service, get a clear picture of where your funds will be used (and for what purpose), make sure there are arrangements in place if the business becomes defunct, and ensure that you have multiple copies of the signed contract.
- Pre-Paid Cremation: Similar to the pre-paid funeral scam, many grieving families are often duped by scamsters who ask for an up-front payment for the cremation services offered.
How to Avoid: To avoid falling victim to such a funeral home scam – check the business’ background and user reviews, ensure that you get a detailed and transparent breakdown of funds used, and ensure that you sign a legal contract beforehand.
Common Funeral Planning, Burial, and Cemetery Scams (And How to Avoid Them)
- Limiting Your Options: On many occasions, instead of offering you a price list, funeral directors will try to sell you higher-end caskets. Unfortunately, this holds true even when it comes to burial chambers. This method of masking the cheaper variants ensures that you, as a customer, will shell out more than your budget.
How to Avoid: Before you start looking at caskets, make sure you necessarily ask for a price list. As per the FTC’S Funeral Rule, it is illegal for a funeral home to run a business without revealing all aspects of their funeral costs, including that of caskets.
- ‘Protect Your Loved One’ Scam: Many funeral homes often misinform the deceased’s family members that if they do not opt for a high-end casket, the mortal remains will deteriorate more rapidly. This is, more often than not, a lie, as regardless of the casket, bodies decompose at the same rate.
How to Avoid: To avoid falling prey to such a scam, make sure you choose a casket based on your budget, and not based on what the salesman conveys. Look out for such suggestions and be sure that it’s a lie.
- Funeral Package Scam: Funerals are expensive, and scammers take advantage of this very fact to dupe people out of their hard-earned money. People are often under the misconception that paying for a funeral package will work out cheaper than paying for each item individually. However, this is not true, as the funeral director will often charge you the same for both – adjusting the prices to match his revenue needs, while also adding items you didn’t ask for.
How to Avoid: If you still wish to opt for a funeral package, make sure that you ask for a detailed break-up of the price for every single item mentioned. Also, ensure that unnecessary items are removed from the list and not billed.
Common Funeral Insurance Scams (And How to Avoid Them)
Automatic Insurance: On the rise nowadays, people often get somewhat surprising calls – with offers for free funeral insurance. However, these policies take at least ten years to kick in and are accompanied by steep premiums.
Before planning a funeral, ensure you are well-versed with all the rules and regulations listed under the FTC’S Funeral Rule. Make sure you conduct adequate research and check the legitimacy of the business, to avoid falling victim to scams.