Bereavement and Funeral Scams Targeting
Grieving Family Members
Credit Card Invoice Scam Targets Bereaved Families
10/29/02 - The Better Business Bureau issued a national consumer
alert to warn of a scam targeting bereaved families that have recently
lost loved ones.
Exodus Collection Services (ECS), which bills itself as a debt collection
agency for Alliant Bank N.A., is sending Alliant Visa Card invoices
to people across the U.S. that have had a recent death in the family.
The bereaved report receiving an Alliance Visa Card invoice from
Exodus Collection Services addressed to the deceased family member.
Invoice amounts range from $138 to more than $700 and recipients
are told to send a check or money order.
The credit card invoice scam's phone number listed on the invoice
has been disconnected and the Wilmington-based address is located
at Mail Boxes Etc. ECS is not licensed nor listed with the Division
of Corporations. Alliant Bank, N.A. is not listed as a national bank
with the Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks,
and there is no Alliant Bank affiliated with Visa.
BBB/Delaware has received inquiries from families in Colorado, Illinois,
Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington. Calls from
people who received the invoices began to arrive earlier this month
and have yet to taper off.
Funeral home customers encounter insurance
04/07 - (North Carolina) - Grieving relatives who have recently
lost a loved one -- beware.
Criminals are working to bilk those who have experienced a recent
death in the family out of money through an insurance scam, local
Funeral homes in Hendersonville and Goldsboro have already been
targeted, and the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service wants to
get the word out -- before it's too late.
"There have been two instances reported in which an individual
has contacted families through the funeral homes providing funeral
services or that recently provided services," said Paul Harris,
North Carolina Board of Funeral Service executive director. "The
contact has been through telephone calls. The male caller has identified
himself as an insurance company representative and informed the family
that the deceased owned a life insurance policy or policies with
"The person explains that the premium payments are in arrears
and the full proceeds will be released if the family would forward
the amount in arrears to the 'company.' He asked for a credit card
number as payment and may have asked for money to be wired to Augusta,
The first case was reported by a funeral home in Hendersonville.
"The funeral home and family were contacted by telephone during
the scheduled visitation at the funeral home," he said. "The
caller hung up when the funeral home staff and family tried to obtain
The second case was reported by a funeral home in Goldsboro.
The Goldsboro Police Department contacted the board on Tuesday and
reported they were investigating a matter filed with them by the
family of the deceased, Harris said.
Details of the case were unavailable. Police officials did not return
a call for comment.
However, Harris said the events in the Goldsboro case closely matched
the details of the events reported in Hendersonville.
He urged residents who suffered a recent death in the family to
exercise caution when dealing with financial and insurance matters.
"If contacted, ask for the caller's contact information in
order to verify the authenticity of the call," he said. "Consumers
should not give out any personal information such as credit card
numbers, Social Security numbers or bank account numbers over the
telephone or Internet under any circumstances unless the company
or caller can be verified."
Officials said the problem appears to be on the rise and greed might
be a chief motivator for the insurance scam artists.