‘Despicable’ funeral home scam preys on grieving family members

NBC News

The day after she lost her husband of 22 years to lung cancer, Lisa Ann Motto received a phone call from a man who said he worked at the funeral home that was handling the cremation.

“He said I needed to make a deposit for insurance purposes, and it was urgent,” recalled Motto, 58, who lives in Bonita Springs, Florida.

The man told her that she owed $5,000 but that she could pay an initial installment of $2,500. He told her she could use Zelle or Apple Pay to make the payment.

Motto said she should have known then that something was off, but she wasn’t thinking clearly. It was just after 8:30 a.m., and she’d had a rough night. Plus, the man on the phone didn’t sound suspicious — he spoke with a Southern drawl and was “real personable,” she said.

She tried to make the payments, but they were flagged as suspicious. The man started explaining to her that he would send a PayPal request when Motto’s son overheard the conversation and told her to hang up immediately.

She now knows that she was targeted in a new scam that preys on people who just lost their loved ones.

“They just catch you at such a weak moment,” said Motto, whose husband, Doug, died at the age of 53 on July 20. “There’s a special place in hell for people like that.”

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