It’s a sad but true reflection of the current state of affairs that the one industry not hurting during the COVID-19 crisis is the one involved in death and burial. With a record number of people dying on a daily basis, funeral homes have barely been able to keep up with the demand for their services, and there are news stories of families having to wait for weeks to have their loved ones cremated or buried. Still, even with the entire country trying to be as thoughtful and considerate of one another as possible, the risk for funeral fraud exists. If you find yourself in need of funeral services during the global pandemic, here is what you need to know in order to avoid funeral fraud.
- The first thing you will want to understand is that funeral homes are working under extremely challenging circumstances, and if they tell you that things need to be done differently than the way they have been in the past, they are telling you the truth. Though funerals can be held, it is not advisable to touch the body of anybody who has died of the coronavirus, and in order to cut down on the risk of the disease spreading to other friends or family members, most people are being asked to keep services restricted only to immediate family members who are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Many funeral services are being conducted online in order to keep people safe, and funeral homes are permitted to restrict the number of people present. Families are planning memorial services in the future in order to pay tribute to loved ones lost during the crisis.
- Embalming is still available.
- Even though the circumstances surrounding the crisis have required changes in many of the ways that funerals are conducted and families are proceeding, these changes do not negate the FTC-enforced “Funeral Rule”, which protects consumers from funeral homes and other burial services that try to sell them more than what they want or need or keep them from purchasing items like caskets and urns from them. It is sad but true that unethical people do not allow grief or pandemics to stop them from their illicit practices, so make sure that you know your rights so that you do not become the victim of funeral fraud.
It is hard to remember everything when your world feels like it is crumbling around you. If you fear that you have been caught at a moment of vulnerability and become a victim of funeral fraud, we can help. Contact our compassionate attorneys today to learn more.