As unclaimed money and property awareness comes more and more into the forefront, so do scammers looking to make a quick buck. Recently in Memphis, Tennessee a resident received communication from a lawyer in Canada claiming to help the individual recover unclaimed permanent life insurance from a deceased relative worth $10.6 million. Lets call this individual Bob. Bob had an estranged uncle who no one had spoken to in over a decade. They assumed he was deceased and $10.6 million is enticing. Bob assumed to good to be true and contacted the Better Business Bureau. They were able to determine this was a fake due to the lawyer not existing in Canada as well as the website being registered a mere 30 days ago.
How To Spot A Fake
The most important thing to know is that you never have to put any money out in order to make a claim. If you do a little bit of research on each state’s unclaimed money process you don’t have to pay anything EVER. All states offer free searching and claiming when it comes to the unclaimed cash and property they hold. Some states may charge a processing fee (Texas) for larger amounts, but most will give you the entire amount you owe.
Some states will still send out postcards to residents who have missing money periodically throughout the year. Scammers like to mimic these postcards looking for you to call them or register on their website. There are a few ways to tell the difference. First is simple, look up the website/phone number on the postcard and see if it matches the state page. Each phone number and website for the states are listed in our Search Your State section. Second, is that most states that send out the postcards offer examples of what they send out in order to weed out the scammers. About 10-15 minutes of research can help you determine if you actually have unclaimed money or if someone is trying to take advantage of you.
Not All Are Fake – Unclaimed Money Finders
First off, your money is yours and you don’t have to pay anyone to search, claim, or collect it. There are many resources for you to search for free, but like any industry there are people who profit from this business and can help claim unclaimed cash. One of the types of paid resources are unclaimed money finders, individuals or businesses who will search and claim for you. These companies will often contact you to assist in getting your money back. Not every state allows these type of companies to operate and the ones that do have individual laws outlining the process they allow as well as the percentage they allow these companies to charge. An important fact to remember is that no finder will ask for money upfront, they all charge percentages of the total claim to be paid out once you receive it. Most states cap that percentage at ten percent. This website is a good resource for unclaimed money finder information.
Searching, claiming, and collecting unclaimed money and unclaimed property is free. A little due diligence will help spot a scam or a legitimate outreach effort to get your money back to you!