A new record was set last year, but it’s not one to take any joy from.

In 2018, there were 24,454 cases reported to the US Treasury Department of suspected elder financial abuse.

It’s an increase of 12 percent from 2017 and twice as much from just five years earlier. This is a frightening trend especially given the fact that on average 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day—a trend that is expected to continue until 2030.

According to the National Council on Aging, there are many scams targeting seniors. They have become so prevalent that they are now being called the «crime of the 21st century.

In a future Reflections, we will go into more detail on some of the many scams out there, but for now, we will focus on those which affect funerals.

At Forest Lawn, we pride ourselves on honest, forthright and genuine interactions with individuals of all ages. Our representatives bring over 100 years of genuine care and respect for all who turn to us at time of need. We are saddened and indeed repulsed by those who would attempt to take advantage of people in mourning. Yet, there are unscrupulous individuals who would do so, and we wish to expose them:

According to the FBI, there is a scam where devious people read obituaries and either call or attend the funeral service of a stranger in hopes of taking advantage of a grieving family by claiming that the deceased owed them money. Scammers will try to extort money to settle these fake debts.

There are also reports of some unscrupulous operators to overcharge expenses and list themselves as financial beneficiaries. You can be assured that at Forest Lawn, each family will decide what kind of service they desire and that every detail will be carefully explained to them.  There are no hidden charges or surprises.

We serve thousands of families each year, many of them our own employees. We treat everyone like family, as it should be. That is the Forest Lawn difference.