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Ask the Chief: Don't let theft, scams compound your grief

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

Q: My spouse past away and I am concerned my home will be robbed while my family attends her funeral. What can I do to protect my home while attending the funeral?

A: I am sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, there are people who target grieving families not only during the funeral services but also after with fraud scams. In law enforcement, we call them "Obituary Burglars" and here are a few things you can do to make it more difficult for these criminals.

1. Have a family member or a family friend watch your home while attending the services.

2. Make sure you lock your home before departing for the services.

3. Lock your valuables in a safe or in a bank vault during the services.

4. Keep a car parked in the driveway to make the home appeared occupied during the service.

5. Call the police department's non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 and inform law enforcement when your home will be unoccupied and staffing and call load permitting we will provide added patrols around your home.

6. Have a family or friend keep the sympathy cards in view the entire time. Deposit cash and money after the service.

7. Limit the personal information in obituaries such as birthdate, address, a maiden name so your loved one identity isn't stolen.

8. A common scam following a death is the "Debt Collector" the scammer calls to tell you that you owe money and must pay it immediately. Always ask for a bill or an invoice and have a trusted family member review all your bills before paying.

9. Last but not least are the conning clairvoyants who can contact your family member on the other side.


AARP obituaries scam: