Saturday, June 5, 2010

Survivor Scams

I was recently at an event sponsored by the BBB and AARP, and they mentioned a scam that I had not heard of yet that they were calling The Survivor Scam. Using the information in an obituary listing, the surviving spouse is contacted and told that this person knew a member of their family, maybe from high school, and was very sorry to hear about their recent loss. This person then goes on to say that they now own a company, like a carpet cleaning company for example, and would like to offer the surviving spouse a free carpet cleaning as a sign of their sympathy for their loss.

Now, this scam can run one of two ways. Either the person really does work for a carpet cleaning company, and when they come out to complete the complementary cleaning they will then sell the surviving spouse on additional services that they do not need, or the person does not really work for a cleaning company and they are just trying to get into the house to rob the surviving spouse.

Be on guard for these scams. Ask for the name of the company and then tell them that you will have to look at your schedule to see when you could have them come out. If it is a person just trying to get into your house to rob you, then they will not be able to give you a company name.
If they do give you a company name, on your own, look up the name and phone number of that company in the phone book or on the internet and call them back if you really do want to schedule something. Be ready to be firm and say no to additional charges and services.

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