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Texas Department of Insurance
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How to avoid scams after the death of a loved one


When it comes to making a quick buck, scammers don’t care who they victimize. We’ve compiled a list of common scams to avoid.

  1. Be cautious on the phone

    Only answer phone calls from people you know or who you called first. Scammers often use fake names and phone numbers to disguise their identity and location.

    Scammers might call offering to help you file a life insurance, disability, or annuity claim. If you have a policy, you should make the first call. This may also be true for anyone saying they’re selling a funeral policy or giving money to cover funeral and burial expenses. To be safe, you should make the first call.

  2. Keep all documents and take notes

    If you file an insurance claim, keep all the paperwork you get from the company. Write down the names of people you talk to and conversation details.

    If you think your family member had a life insurance policy but you can’t find it, you can use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Policy Locator Service.

  3. Be careful with personal information

    Don’t put too many personal details in an obituary or on social media. Scammers can use the details to steal your family member’s identity or pretend to be a debt collector.

    Call your family member’s bank, insurance companies, and the Social Security Administration to tell them about the death. Ask what protections they have in place to protect your family member's personal information. Get a credit report in a few months to check that no one opened a credit card in their name.

  4. Check on charities before you donate

    Before giving money to organizations claiming to raise funds for a crime victim or someone who has died, check that they’re real. Don’t give any personal information to a charity other than an address, email, or phone number.

    CharityWatch is a charity watchdog group which helps donors make informed choices. Also, Guidestar gathers data on millions of IRS-recognized non-profits.

  5. Report fraud

    To ask insurance questions or report a suspected insurance scam, call our Help Line at 800-252-3439.

    Report other kinds of suspected fraud to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Texas Attorney General by calling 800-621-0508 or by filing a consumer complaint.



Questions? Call us at 800-252-3439.

Last updated: 5/27/2022