Obituary Scam Hits East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/14/02 - Tyler

Obituary Scam Hits East Texas

   Over the past month, bereaving widows have become the unfortunate targets of a new scam. And it's costing them hundreds of dollars. It's a scam fleecing East Texas families in their darkest moments.

   "You get so much mail after there's been a death, " Tells recently widowed Marilyn Trollinger. Days after her husband, William passed away..."I thought, here's something else to deal with...another bill to pay." A collection letter from Alliant Visa card and the Exodus Collection Agency said her husband owed more than $600 dollars in past due money.

   "Your first thought is to go ahead and send a check and get it over with. Especially when they make it sound like your credit history is ruined if you don't send this money immediately," Marilyn said

   But it was a credit card she'd never heard of, "There was no telephone number to call and I thought I will check it out on the Internet and there was no Alliant Bank, there was no Exodus Collection service."

   Another phone call to Tyler's Better Business Bureau revealed much more according to President Kay Robinson, "They're mining the obituaries in the hopes of a bereaved family member writing the check and sending it in."

   A simple announcement like this one for William, a printed memory--became an invitation for deceit. Alliant Credit, based out of Delaware, is now under investigation by postal inspectors. To avoid getting caught in this scam family members can receive a free credit report by sending a copy of their loved one's death certificate to their credit reporting agency. That way, you will know how much they owe and to whom.

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