Bereaved, Beware: The Scams Thieves Pull on Grieving Families

When you’re mourning a loss and just trying to get through the funeral, the last thing you’d expect is to be the victim of a theft —but that’s exactly why some thieves take advantage of this complicated time.

Recently, a few scams have been widely reported.

  • Thieves read obituaries to learn when the house will be empty. The obituary typically lists the date and time of the funeral and visitation, and it’s easy enough for thieves to dig a bit deeper to get the address of the person who has died. Knowing that no one is likely to be there during the funeral, they choose that time to strike.
  • Sometimes, they break into cars during funerals. Thieves have been known to smash windows in a funeral-home parking lot to grab whatever they can find of value.
  • Identity theft can be a problem. In fact, according to data from ID Analytics, an identity theft risk-assessment company, thieves steal the identities of about 800,000 Americans who have died or are gravely ill each year. They also make up Social Security numbers, and in so doing inadvertently make matches with about 1.6 million more people who have died.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, friends and family from theft. Close accounts and notify Social Security, the DMV and credit bureaus of the death. Ask someone to stay at the house during the funeral — maybe a family friend who has offered to help. Warn people to lock their cars and avoid leaving valuables in them while they’re at the service.

At Chapel of the Chimes Oakland, we work hard to help the families we serve, caring for families of all faiths, traditions and customs. Our staff is committed to our community, and we want to know how we can assist you. To learn more about Chapel of the Chimes, call us at 510.379.4866 or schedule a tour here.

We can also send you a free preplanning guide that’ll help get all your important documents and end-of-life directions in one place. Preplanning is a give of love for your family because there are more than 100 decisions and demands for information that must happen after a death occurs. Get your free preplanning guide here, and save your family from having to make a lot of decisions at an already difficult time.

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