Prepare yourself, this one is low down.
The person receiving the phone call recently had a spouse, family member or other close relative pass away and the obituary was posted on the internet. The scammer calls from a spoofed, or computer generated telephone number, which makes it appear to be local. It is believed that that the scammers searched online obituaries and used the information to identify the next of kin for the deceased.
The scammer pretends to be a representative of a church, funeral home, or body transport service. They then request payment over the phone for things like the rental of a church for memorial services, the transport service for the deceased, or services at a funeral home.
Some people were asked to provide their credit card information or bank account including routing numbers. Others were instructed to send payment via Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, Zelle, gift cards, etc. over the phone. That is not the way legitimate business is conducted!
If you ever receive a phone call like this, HANG UP! Don’t give out financial information over the phone! Follow up with a family member or a trusted friend. Or, you can call us: 205-822-5300. It always helps to get another set of ears involved so you can talk through it.
Your safety is our top priority! Be a #HangUpHero!
Officer Brian Hale, Public Information Officer