According to the official State of Texas unclaimed property website, ClaimItTexas.org, one in four Texans has unclaimed property from forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, security deposits and utility refunds. People are becoming more aware of the different kinds of unclaimed property out there and the l possibility that money could be waiting for them. Unfortunately, scammers are also looking to take advantage of your unclaimed goods. Better Business Bureau explains how scammers use the promise of finding unclaimed money to lure people in.
Consumers often receive an email telling people they have “millions of dollars” in unclaimed money. The message appears to come from the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, and directs consumers to call an overseas telephone number to claim their supposed money. Scammers intend to get personal information from people such as their bank account information, credit card information and social security number.
While NAUPA is a real organization, it does not have control over any actual money, much less the authority to dole it out. Unclaimed property databases are located in and maintained by each individual state.
To prevent your property from being abandoned, the Texas comptroller suggests residents change their address with the United States Postal Service with each move, check bank accounts and keep them active, confirm their address with past-employers for any additional payroll checks and list any royalties or safe deposit boxes on their estate or make someone aware of the property.
If you are interested in searching for unclaimed property BBB offers the following advice:
- Ignore email notifications. State unclaimed property offices do not email unclaimed property owners. Some state offices will mail notices to an owner’s last known physical address. If you receive an email claiming you have unclaimed property, chances are it is a scam.
- Don’t give out bank account information. While you might be asked for your social security number once you are on the secure state website to confirm your identity, you will never be asked for your bank account information. A check will be mailed to your home.
- Avoid paying a fee. There is no charge associated with searching for your property or claiming your property with state agencies.
- Be cautious of unknown callers. If someone calls stating you have unclaimed property owed to you, think twice and act smart. Especially if the callers use the name of an official entity, make certain that you go “off the call” and contact the official entity to confirm the information.
- Search certified databases. There are many official sites to use when searching for your unclaimed property. Start your search with your state comptroller’s office. From there you can find trustworthy websites, such as missingmoney.com, to search for potential properties in your name.