I was eating lunch yesterday (a ham sandwich, if anyone cares) and the phone rang.

It was an AT&T operator with an IP relay call for me.  You may remember that we discussed these types of calls last October in a post titled What is an IP Relay Call and is it a Scam?

So I took the call (they’re free, at least to the receiver) and got the exact conversation the scam warning described, which went like this:

OPERATOR: (speaking for the typing scammer) Do you sell casket?

ME:  No, we don’t.

OPERATOR:  What do you do?

ME:  I don’t understand the question.

OPERATOR:  (long pause)… I need funeral home.

ME:  We’re not a funeral home.

OPERATOR:  The caller has hung up. 

This is a lot like the scams we’ve seen via email that ask for information regarding funeral products, or help repatriating remains to the United States.

As I’ve explained before, these people are trying to gain your trust so that at some point during the arrangement, they can convince you to pay for an item or service (caskets, consulate fees, etc.) before you figure out it’s a scam.

Often, more general scams of this nature ask the scam-ed person to pay taxes or consulate fees to accept a package sent C.O.D..  Usually, this package, which is supposed to contain large sums of money or valuables, is filled with junk or, worse, nothing.

I’ve heard a story, probably apocryphal, that a funeral director once accepted remains at the airport, for which he had to pay a cash C.O.D. charge, which contained, not a casket, but large rocks.

Be aware that an email or IP Relay call asking for your assistance with some nebulous, fishy-sounding situation is probably a scam. 

See these related posts:

“Possible Fraud Attempt!” Email is Actually Fraud Itself

Nigerian Scam Letter Turns to Funeral Homes

Intriguing Email. Should I Reply?

Email Scam Involving Caskets

Same Scam, New Tactic

Can I Sell You Some Copier Toner (Which you normally get free)?

I’ll Trade You $10 Million for Your Bank Account Number!