Grieving mother faces double loss when burying her son

A grieving mother says she was scammed out of funeral money while burying her son. (Source: WAFB)
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:58 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge mother is now facing the impossible task of burying her son.

Ester Banks said she was targeted by a fake company that swindled her out of the money she needed to pay for the funeral. She is urging other families to be careful when seeking help to bury their loved ones.

She added a person contacted the funeral home she was working with, claiming to be with a major life insurance company and that her son had a policy.

The funeral home then had Banks speak with the mysterious caller.

“She was telling me that my son had insurance,” said Banks. “She knew his whole name. She knew everything about him. She knew all the schematics.”

She explained that she believed the company because the representative had all her information. In the process of burying her only son, Banks said the scammers convinced her that their claims were real.

“The lady went as far as telling me she just lost her son. He got shot in the head. Why would you do that? Why would you do that and make me feel sorry for you? I’m sitting here crying for you on the phone as well as myself,” described Banks.

In order to receive a payout worth more than $100,000, she was told she would have to pay the rest of her son’s premium. She sent the money via Cashapp.

“I eventually ended up sending them all together $1,530 that I do not know if I will ever see again,” said Banks.

Banks added the so-called insurance company stopped answering her calls and eventually disconnected the number.

The Better Business Bureau said there are multiple platforms where companies can purchase others’ personal information including phone numbers, home addresses, and the names of family members.

“When you get a call and you’re not sure, you need to take a deep breath and take control over that conversation,” said Carmen Million, president of the Better Business Bureau. “Ask them questions, get information on them. Tell them that you’re going to check them out before you verify anything.“

Banks has since filed a police report, hoping to get answers and find out who took her money.

We also spoke with the funeral home that was contacted. Owners declined to go on camera but mentioned that they had never seen anything like this.

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