Scammers bill families for flowers that don't exist

BEWARE! Funeral Scam Targeting Grieving Families

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 6:05 PM EDT

Local funeral directors are warning to be on-guard for a scam that tries to bill families $75 for funeral flowers.

The following is a notice that was sent out by the National Funeral Directors Association:

According to NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association) General Counsel T. Scott Gilligan, funeral homes in southern Ohio have reported a scam aimed at families who have recently arranged a funeral. A few days after the funeral, an invoice from Floral Arrangements Specialists of Cape Coral, Fla., is sent to the family charging them $75 for floral arrangements provided in connection with the funeral of their loved one. The invoice lists the name of the decedent, the date of the funeral, and the funeral home that provided the services. It provides a PO Box in Cape Coral, Fla., for payment of the professional-looking invoice.

Fortunately, in the cases we have heard of, the families checked with the funeral homes and discovered that flowers had not been ordered from nor provided by Floral Arrangement Specialists. However, it is inevitable that some family will be fooled by the fake invoices and pay them without checking with the funeral home. It is apparent that the scam artists are obtaining the information about the decedent, the family, and the funeral arrangements from obituary posted on funeral home websites.

Funeral homes should warn their families never to pay an invoice for items they did not specifically order. They should also advise the family always to check with the funeral home in case of any doubt.

Gilligan will be alerting the U.S. Postal Service fraud division about this scam. However, the best protection for families is for funeral homes to advise the family about the possibility of scams aimed at them.

Questions regarding this scam may contact Ohio Funeral Directors Association’s General Counsel at 513-871-6332