Caitlin, NY funeral homes

Funeral Fraud: Taking Advantage of Grief

Fraud can begin before the funeral at Caitlin, NY funeral homes. There are several prevalent types of fraud that specifically target families who’ve lost a loved one and who are grieving. We’ll highlight what these are so that you can be aware and protect yourself.  

Several types of funeral fraud happen because of what information is included in the obituary.   

One of these is street addresses of the deceased and street addresses of family members who may want to a place for mourners to come if they are unable to be at the visitation along with visitation times and dates, funeral times and dates, and graveside services times and dates.   

So, while you’re in the process of burying your loved one, burglars know where everyone lives and when the homes will be unoccupied, making them easier targets for break-ins and thefts.   

After the funeral, the surviving family members may get visits from fraudsters claiming that vehicles and/or equipment was sold to them or was put up for sale. Even though the family may insist that nothing was sold or for sale, if there is equipment they have no use for or vehicles that won[‘t be used, the family may be willing to sell them immediately for a very low price just to get rid of them.  

To protect yourself against this type of funeral fraud, do not put any street address information in the obituary.  

Two other pieces of information in obituaries can lead to identify theft. Often families will include maiden names of mothers, wives, sisters, or daughters and their date of birth. That’s really all good identity theft needs to access financial information, steal money or credit card numbers, or even open new credit in the deceased’s name, wreaking havoc of the deceased’s finances.  

Probate fraud is, sadly, a common type of funeral fraud. However, probate fraud usually happens before someone dies and it is perpetuated by someone the deceased person knows rather than a stranger. A lot of times probate fraud happens within families, especially in second marriages (children from the first marriage are defrauded) and in families where siblings don’t get along.  

Probate fraud consists of someone cultivating the dying person’s emotional and physical dependence on them, then convincing the dying person to make changes to their will, sign over property, or make them the sole executor of their will.   

When last-minute changes are made to a will, probate fraud is what is taking place. If beneficiaries are suddenly changed, then beneficiary fraud is also be perpetrated. Usually these happen concurrently, and the beneficiaries don’t find out about it until after the funeral and burial.   

If the will and beneficiary changes were made legally, it will be tough and long court battle to set things right. It’s difficult to prevent this type of funeral fraud, but the affairs of dying people should be in the hands of an impartial party (if there is family feuding going on) who refuses to let legal documents be changed.  

At Caitlin, NY funeral homes, our experienced and sympathetic staff at Roberts Funeral Home can help you with resources to avoid funeral fraud. You can see us in person at our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can call us today at (607) 734-7811.