Funeral scams that target seniors are a particularly nasty kind of financial scam.

There are a few kinds of funeral scams. Learning to recognize these scams will put you on your guard whenever you are handling the passing of a loved one, or even planning your own funeral.

Fake Debt

In the first type of the funeral scams, scammers target the deceased’s widow or widower. The scammer reads obituaries to find upcoming funeral services and then contacts the family. Usually, they claim that the deceased owes money and demands that the family members pay off their “debt.”

These funeral scams are counting on victims to be emotionally vulnerable. Protect yourself by always having a friend or family member nearby. Any real outstanding debts will be handled officially, usually with legal documentation, and not at a funeral service.

Prepaid Funerals

Estate and funeral planning is an important step in getting financially healthy. But there are many scammers that take advantage of the desire to get affairs in order. One of these scams is for bogus “prepaid funeral” arrangements.

If you want to be sure your funeral costs are covered, work with a licensed insurance agent to get funeral insurance through a recognized carrier. Anyone who is not a licensed agent, or doesn’t work for an insurance agency, should not be trusted for “prepaid” arrangements.

Unscrupulous Funeral Homes

There are few experiences more stressful than planning a loved one’s funeral. Funeral home scammers take advantage of this by charging hidden fees. Many people are unfamiliar with the costs of burial, so this gives scammers plenty of opportunity.

One of the most common forms of this scam is based on caskets. Scammers claim you have to buy an expensive display casket even if your loved one wanted to be cremated. This is not true, and a cardboard casket can be used.

If you are worried about funeral scams, get in touch with ACRO Services to see if you are being victimized. You can also report funeral scams to the FTC here: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.