2nd April 2024

‘Despicable’ funeral scam warning

Scammers are targeting the recently bereaved with fake online donation forms and bogus funeral streaming services.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
This is one of the worst cases of hitting someone when they are at their most vulnerable that I have seen

Scammers are targeting recently bereaved families with bogus donation forms and fake online funeral streaming services, according to information received by CTSI.

The scam begins with criminals seeking out funeral notices and then setting up fake Facebook accounts which offer opportunities to donate money in memory of the recently deceased, or to watch a live stream of their funeral. In either case, the postings are entirely fraudulent and are merely a cynical ploy to extract money from mourning friends and relatives.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: “This is one of the worst cases of hitting someone when they are at their most vulnerable that I have seen. We are seeing too many cases of people being exploited by criminals to hand over their money and personal details.

“We urge consumers to follow our advice on how to avoid these despicable members of our society. It’s also really important to tell your friends, family and neighbours to also be wary of these types of scams as anyone can be targeted.”

CTSI is urging the public to remember that a funeral is a public event that you should never be charged to attend in person or online. CTSI is also warning the public not to trust links for donations found online, and to check with the official funeral director for information about donations.

As with other types of scam, the public are urged to never give away personal details, and to contact your bank immediately if you have done so.

CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “As always, scammers are quick to leap on any opportunity to take advantage of uncertainty and to prey on members of the public, and in this case when they are already suffering with grief and upset.

“Trading Standards will be doing everything they can to protect their local communities from these despicable individuals and we urge consumers to report any concerns to the Consumer Helpline so these criminals can be stopped in their tracks.”

For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. To report scams in England and Wales, contact Action Fraud. In Scotland, contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000, or if in Northern Ireland, call Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.

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