Avoiding Scams Following Loved One Passing

If a friend or family member has recently passed, this period of grief will naturally be difficult for you and others close to the departed. One additional stressor you should never have to deal with during this time: Scams, which are sometimes attempted on the bereaved by low-life, dishonest people seeking to capitalize on their grief to make a quick buck or two.

There are a number of ways to avoid such risks, including working with quality funeral planning professionals who assist not only with funeral plans and related areas, but also with many other themes to assist grieving friends or families in their time of need. Another solid method here: Simply being aware of some of the most common scam types that these dishonest individuals may attempt on you or others in a grieving state. Here are some examples of these scams, plus tips on how to ensure you steer clear of them if you’re grieving the loss of a friend or loved one.

Scam Life Insurance Policies

One of the most common scam attempts following the passing of a loved one involves a surviving family member, most commonly a spouse, receiving a call or email about a life insurance policy that pays out a huge sum of money, but goes on to state that the deceased must have had an outstanding loan. Scammers will often try to convince their target that they can help them claim this life insurance money without any hassle or bureaucratic barriers.

Another common element here: The scammer will then say that they need access to some cash immediately in order to process the claim, and will insist to their target that they should purchase a pre-paid cash card for this purpose. Once the scammers have obtained their victim’s personal information from buying such a card, they’re free to drain the funds as quickly as possible.

Never, ever give out any personal information over the phone or via any other channel. Never agree to transfer money to someone you haven’t heard of for life insurance money, and never agree to let someone you don’t know have access to your accounts. If you think that you’re the target of a scam like this one, contact your bank immediately for more information on how they can help you protect your account(s).

Collection Agency Scams

In other cases, scammers will pose as debt collection agents, claiming the departed had outstanding debts and now those who are grieving will be held accountable for them.

If someone calls you claiming to be a debt collector, ask for their name and contact information, then call the agency they claim to represent and ask about their record and status with that company. If it’s a scam, don’t give any money to the caller under any circumstances, and don’t give out any personal information.

Pension Scams

People who are grieving may receive letters in the mail about pension benefits becoming available to them as a result of their loved one’s passing. Such schemes often come with fake checks that recipients should deposit into their bank accounts, but are instead instructed to send some of the money to the scammer themselves. Once this is done, they’ll receive another fake check that’s supposedly worth even more money, then are told that they need to send additional cash for “taxes” or other reasons.


Finally, while it’s not a scam per se, burglary of the home of the bereaved during funeral services is a common occurrence. If you’re going to attend a family member or friend’s funeral, make sure that everyone at home is aware of this possibility and can take precautions. These may include cameras or other forms of security, or could even involve hiring someone to watch your home.

Ensure you do not fall victim to a scam following the passing of a loved one by following the tips above.

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