If an email seems suspicious, chances are it is. AFDA was recently alerted to a suspicious email that read:
I FOUND YOUR CONTACT IN THE FUNERAL HOME DIRECTORIES. I JUST LOST MY MUM. SHE DIED ON A BUSINESS TRIP TO LONDON.
I WANT YOUR FUNERAL HOME TO TAKE CARE OF HER FUNERAL ARRANGEMENT.
Name... VICKY FLEX
Place of death.... United Kingdom
Date of death..... 1/3/2017
I HAVE MADE ALL ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE FUNERAL HOME IN U.K WHERE THE BODY LIES AND ALL NECESSARY DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED.
I WANT YOU TO CONTACT THE FUNERAL HOME IN U.K WITH THE NEAREST AIRPORT WHERE YOU CAN RECEIVE THE REMAINS AND NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR.
HERE IS THE EMAIL ADDRESS OF THE FUNERAL HOME IN LONDON
SO LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS YOU HAVE CONTACTED THEM.
Over the years, AFDA has received numerous reports from members who have been contacted by scam artists. Scammers contact funeral homes in a variety of ways (fax, email, relay operators, etc.), and the inquiries can originate from anywhere in the world.
Make sure all employees at your firm, as well as your firm's answering service, are aware of the potential for scams by sharing these guidelines with them.
- When an American citizen dies overseas and the remains must be returned to the United States, the nearest embassy or consulate will issue a certificate to accompany the casket. You should still personally verify the legitimacy of a death overseas and the intent to repatriate a body by contacting the State Department's Overseas Citizens Services Office at 888-407-4747.
- Simply because a charge goes through on a credit card does not mean that it is legitimate. The credit card may have been stolen and a chargeback will eventually be made against the funeral home when the theft is discovered. You should be very careful about accepting credit card payments when the contact is initiated by the consumer and the credit card number is given via e-mail, fax or telephone.
- Never wire funds to a consumer or to a third-party office such as MoneyGram. Funds should never be wired unless you are certain of the identity of the recipient, such as a funeral home that you have personally contacted using a telephone number available through an an association, like NFDA, or another respected directory.
- Be suspicious if the order is for several of the same items of merchandise, like cremation jewelry.
- Whenever a contact is made from overseas, be cautious. Many scams are initiated overseas.
- Be wary of any orders from addresses that use free e-mail services. Credit card companies report that these e-mail services have no billing relationship with the consumer, which makes them very difficult to trace.
- Never ship merchandise until you verify that a check has cleared and that funds are in the account.
- If you are contacted by someone asking you to send personal or banking information, do not reply in any manner. Guard your account information carefully.
- Be skeptical of individuals asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts or in transferring money from an overseas bank account to an account in the United States.
- Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.