Vermont AG Warns of Unclaimed Property Scam (and Some Tips for Claiming)
An article in the (Vermont) Valley News reports a warning from the Vermont Attorney General's Office concerning an unclaimed property scam making the rounds in the Green Mountain State (and perhaps elsewhere). The scam apparently involves contacting the Facebook "friends" of a compromised account, informing them that they have unclaimed property, and providing a call-in number. Individuals who contact the number are advised that they have unclaimed funds, and are asked to wire money to pay for taxes and fees.
Here are some tips to (try to) avoid scams relating to unclaimed property:
- 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. Some scams seek to trick victims into calling an international phone number and incurring high fees for those calls.
- 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.