Consumer Alert: Unclaimed Property Fund scams
by Wyoming State Treasurer's Office
June 7, 2009
State Treasurer Joe Meyer has advised Wyoming residents to be aware of mail and Internet scams regarding unclaimed property funds. Meyer said:
- Scams continue to surface in the area of unclaimed property to fleece money from unsuspecting Wyoming residents.
- Obtaining this information is a way for unscrupulous individuals to rob your account(s) of your hard-earned money and possibly committing identity theft.
- Inheritances, overpayments, wages, insurance proceeds, and savings accounts are just some of the types of funds that become unclaimed and are covered under the Unclaimed Property Law administered by my office.
Treasurer Meyer also said residents should be aware of:
- Companies mailing first class postcards or letters to Wyoming residents, stating that millions of dollars of unclaimed money has been turned over to the State of Wyoming for distribution and potentially some of this money may belong to you. The correspondence also asks the recipient to send either $10, $14.98, $39.95, or some other denomination for instructions and a form.
What you receive is either the telephone number of the unclaimed property office for the state in which you live or a list of unclaimed property offices nationwide - information that is available for FREE from the Unclaimed Property Division of my office. The list of names is also available for FREE on the Internet website - www.unclaimed.org (click on the appropriate state).
- Beware of "finders" who want you to sign a contract and charge a fee (of as much as 50%) for locating money that belongs to you. If the funds are held at the State, 100% of the funds are available to the owner directly through the Unclaimed Property Division.
Be careful of signing such a contract! These "finders" are NOT employees of our office, and it is illegal for them to represent that they are. Often the service they render is nothing more than to make a few telephone calls, for which they may charge a substantial fee.
Treasurer Meyer reminded citizens:
"Don't pay a party who says they will send you "information" about unclaimed property for an upfront fee.
"Don't fall for a scam that requires you to pay upfront or sign such a contract to receive a portion of your own money! Remember that the State of Wyoming does not charge a fee of any kind for returning funds, and we hold the funds indefinitely, for the rightful owner or heir.
"Check our website - www.wywindfall.gov or call the Wyoming Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer's Office at 307-777-5590 to see if we are holding unclaimed funds in your name."