Beware of funeral home scams: Gwinnett County police investigate

Just like taxes, death is inevitable, but funeral homes try to be a place of peace as people deal with loss. Scammers, however, are trying to ruin that feeling.

"There were so many red flags, and I was an idiot," said a woman who had money stolen by a scammer.

She asked not to be identified. She says she was taken Monday by a scammer. She says someone pretending to be from Crowell Brothers Funeral Homes in Gwinnett County called and texted her. The person told her she owed $1,200 for her dad’s funeral, that was scheduled for the next day. The person on the phone does not work at the funeral home. 

"They know you’re bereaved, and they know your mind is going crazy, and you know they know you’re in a million different places because you’ve got so much going on," the woman said.

She sent the money via Zelle, but immediately realized she made a mistake. 

FOX 5 called the number, but just days after the scam, the line was disconnected.

"It’s a rough situation that people are being taken advantage of during the worst time of their life," said Samuel Lay, general manager of Crowell Brothers Funeral Homes and Crematory.


Image 1 of 24

Gwinnett County Police are investigating after a family in mourning was targeted by scammers posing as a funeral home. (FOX 5)

Lay says the scammer does not work for him. In just the last week, four clients have reported similar calls, one fell victim. 

"The biggest problem with society is we’ve lost care, we’ve lost care about each other, we lost care about our feelings," he said. "Nobody cares about what you’re going through. They just want to take what they can get out of you."

Lay says two other funeral homes in metro-Atlanta have told him scammers have gone after their clients too. He believes the scammers are using online obituaries to get information. They have put a warning on their website to let clients know what’s going on. The victim now wants others to be aware. 

"They know very well what they’re doing," she said. "They’re very crafty and smart, and it’s sad."

Gwinnett County Police are looking into this. 

Investigators say many scammers use peer-to-peer transaction systems to rip victims off.