Thursday, August 4, 2011

Warning About Unclaimed Property Scams (& Some Claiming Tips)

According to Fox 19 in Cincinnati, the Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans about an unclaimed property scam that is being used to try to trick people into providing bank account and other personal financial information.  To add an element of credibility, the scam emails supposedly come from the Nat'l Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators which is, of course, a real organization of which most states' unclaimed property offices are a member. 

Update:  According to Fox 5 Las Vegas, Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall is warning of a similar scam.

Here are some helpful claiming tips:
  • Don't Pay to Search -- States do not charge a fee for allowing you to search for unclaimed funds, or in most cases, even to collect unclaimed funds.
  • Don't Trust Links -- If you receive an email purporting to be from your state unclaimed property office with a link, go to the site directly.  A link to every states' unclaimed property office can be found on the website of the Nat'l Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
  • Don't Trust Phone Numbers -- Similarly, don't call the number provided to you in an unsolicited email or voicemail.  Look up (using NAUPA or some other source) the phone number for your state unclaimed property office yourself, and call them directly.
    • Update:  According an article posted by Fox 5 Las Vegas, Nevada is warning that the scam referred to above seeks to trick victims into "call[ing] an international phone number and incur[ing] high fees for the call."
  • Don't Provide Financial Information -- You do not have to provide any financial or bank account information to perform a search or to learn if a state is holding unclaimed funds on your behalf. 

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