How the scam works:
When a spouse dies there are so many things that need to be handled almost simultaneously. Burial arrangements made, death certificates sent out to creditors and life insurance policies cashed out. It is the issue of life insurance that brings us to our latest scam.
The deceased spouse insurance scam works like this: a newly widowed man or woman will receive a telephone call from a “life insurance agent” stating that their deceased spouse had purchased a policy from their company. The policy is always said to be over a million dollars.
The “agent” will then tell the surviving spouse that the policy was to be kept a secret from him or her because their spouse “loved them very much and wanted to take very good care of them.” The kicker is that there is one more premium payment that is owed, usually in a very specific amount (i.e. $4890.37) and that the premium payment needs to be paid before they can release the policy amount to the beneficiary.
Of course, once this premium payment is sent (often to a foreign country) the alleged policy payout never arrives, and the widowed spouse is out the alleged premium amount that they paid. This scam has been going on for some time, but has been ramping up in recent years. It is a sad fact that there will always be scammers willing to take advantage of a person during one of the most vulnerable times in their life. Criminals pick their victims from obituaries.
How to avoid:
There are very few agents who will call you when your spouse dies, so getting a phone call of this variety is red flag number one. Two, always ask to see some verifiable documents; regardless of how official they may appear, always follow up by calling the customer service department of that company or ask your personal insurance agent to verify this policy for you. Finally, if you are approached by an “agent”, never send them any money. A reputable agency (if a policy really does exist) will take any remaining premiums off of the payout amount and would never request a premium payment be sent. In the aftermath of the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse can be very vulnerable. Be aware of scams such as this one; always make sure to protect your assets.
How to report:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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