Article: Scamming the Grieving--PLEASE READ

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TwoCatDoctors, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    [I have this AARP article on the Grief Board here, but wanted to also put this here as many here end up with loved ones passing. PLEASE READ THIS, because it could possibly help you so much after a loved one has passed from being horribly scammed.]
    Scam Alert: Deceiving the Grieving

    By: Sid Kirchheimer | Source: AARP Bulletin Today | May 12, 2008

    To the Indiana families that had recently lost a relative, the callers were making a credible request: The state’s Vital Records Division needed personal information to complete the death certificate.

    But those requests are not legitimate: They’re just the latest twist on scams that attempt to steal the identities of people who have died.

    “Our office has gotten phone calls from people who recently lost loved ones, saying they’re calling us back because we supposedly called them to request personal information such as a deceased’s birth date, address and Social Security number,” says Corey Ealy, director of Vital Records for the Indiana State Department of Health. “But we never call citizens to collect information for death certificates. We are receivers of this information, not solicitors of it.”

    This is true of every other state in the country, says Celine Clark of the National Funeral Directors Association, which represents some 20,000 members, who typically collect information for death certificates and file it with the appropriate agencies.

    “It’s the funeral director who gets the doctor to complete the medical portion of the death certificate,” Clark says. “The funeral director gets the personal information of the deceased—name, address and Social Security number—from the family and files the death certificate at the county courthouse, and then gets it filed with the state health department.”

    “No matter what the situation, no state or county agency would ever call the families of the deceased,” Clark adds. “If you get a call from someone saying they are with a governmental agency that is preparing a death certificate, it, without doubt, is a scam.”

    In the Indiana cases, the scammers apparently read obituaries and then called the grieving families. Here’s how to protect yourself from such trickery:

    • In obituaries, don’t include details such as the deceased’s birth date (use only the year) or addresses, including those of family members.

    • Never provide a caller (or e-mailer) with any personal information on a deceased person.

    • MAIL COPIES OF THE DEATH CERTIFICATE TO ALL THREE CREDIT-REPORTING BUREAUS —Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—AND ALL CREDIT ISSUERS TO CANCEL ACCOUNTS right after the person dies. Check the deceased’s credit history at four to six weeks later to ensure no fraudulent accounts have been opened.


  2. Pippi1313

    Pippi1313 New Member

    Man, they just never stop finding ways to scam people.

  3. lgp

    lgp Well-Known Member

    for this valuable information.

    It's disheartening to know just how low some people will go. In a case like this, I'd like to think there is even honor among thieves and these heinous acts are infrequent. Sadly, I believe I may be wrong.

    Thanks again for posting. I may write about this on my blog.

  4. JimB51

    JimB51 Member

    Everyone should know this info. Thanks.
  5. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Thank you for this information.

    There was an article in Newsweek about collection agencies calling relatives for the decease's outstanding debts. You are not responsible for your relatives debts unless you have something like a joint business, etc.

    How low can they go???

    Great information and I will pass it on.