PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Whether it was a sudden loss or a homegoing after a long goodbye, a regional funeral services company is issuing a warning to mourners.
Virginia Beach-based Altmeyer Funeral Homes and Crematory, which operates funeral facilities in five states, is sounding the alarm after someone using the name of an Altmeyer employee contacted a couple of grieving families.
Mike Luikart, Funeral Service Manager at the Virginia Beach location, described the red flag that alerted the grieving family. “The individual is representing someone by a name from our funeral home trying to give credence to their scam, but they are asking[for payment] through Peer-to-Peer apps,” Luikart told 10 On Your Side.
Altmeyer does not use services such as PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo.
“There were no financial transactions from any of the families that I’ve spoken with, so it’s good in that nature… just the fact that there’s somebody purporting to do this to unsuspecting people; it’s horrendous,” said Luikart, who suspects the scammer is using online sources for information on the deceased and loved ones.
Luikart told 10 On Your Side he has heard from competitors who also say their clients have been contacted by scammers posing as funeral home employees.
WAVY’s Regina Mobley: What advice would you give to families across the board, regardless of the funeral service they are using, if they get a phone call that sounds suspicious?
Mike Luikart: Of course, they want to reach out to that funeral director that they are working with for your loved ones’ services. We serve folks at a very, very sensitive time. You build that rapport, that relationship, and when there are questions, that’s your go-to person.
Luikart said the scammers asked clients to transfer between $1,000 and $2,000.
Luikart urges mourners to contact police if they receive a suspicious phone call from a person purporting to represent a funeral home, asking for money.