Avoid Unclaimed Funds Scams This Christmas

Kelly Cooke
Published Apr 9, 2024

Bottom Line: The good news here is that unclaimed funds in general are not a scam and you might actually have unclaimed funds out there waiting for you.

If you own a phone, then you have likely received a call before telling you about your car warranty, or some type of insurance, with an urgent message that claims you must update now.

You may have received multiple calls of that nature this week alone.

These calls are all scams, all of them; they're done by crooked (often illegal) services that want to get your payment information and to get some money out of you.

These sorts of scams really increase during the holiday season.

Another type of scam people try is the unclaimed funds scam.

This is when a caller (or someone through email) tells you that you have money waiting in your name.

An unclaimed check, stimulus money, property in your name, etc. The gist here is that they'll say the only way you can claim these funds is to provide them with your banking details or your credit/debit card number.

Of course, they're all scams, and should be avoided.

This is basically the same thing that happens every year.

No matter which winter holiday you celebrate, you probably do celebrate something, and the vast majority of Americans are shopping, visiting family, traveling, etc, and are basically spending a lot of money.

For many people, this is a financial strain, and so they're looking for extra money to spend.

This makes people very receptive to the idea that there's some insurance rebate check out there waiting for them, worth a thousand dollars or so; and so they have no issue paying in $50 for a "processing fee."

As you have likely already guessed, however, that $50 fee is money they're stealing from you.

The trick these scammers use is to keep the amount relatively small.

After all, if you're owed $1,000, and have to pay $50, you're still netting $950.

That's the way the scammers really convince so many people. The $50 isn't a lot for them, but just multiply that by potentially thousands of people.

By the time these scam operations are found out and shut down, they've already cleaned up financially and have disappeared anyway.

They prey on people who need money, and unfortunately there are a whole lot of people who need money in today's dire economy.

Even people who believe they'd never fall for a scam in a million years get a little tempted when it's the holiday season and they can't afford Christmas gifts.

If you do happen to be contacted by any such unsolicited number or email, the best thing you can do is report the scam to your local authorities.

Better yet, if you realize you're being scammed, see if you can pull any information out of them.

Ask them questions about where they're located, or to whom you're speaking.

Ask them for website information, or a good number so that you can contact them.

A lot of the people these scams use to call you aren't actually in on the scam, and so they're not very protective with the information.

It might be a long shot, but it could also help shut them down quicker so no one else loses money to the scam.

Reputable Ways to Check for Owed Money

The good news here is that unclaimed funds in general are not a scam.

Tens of millions of Americans have money and property sitting in their name inside of a state treasury office.

Why does this happen? Any sort of inheritance, missed checks, and other types of funds are all collected and stored by your state's official Treasury.

However, like the post office and DMV, these government programs aren't exactly reliable.

They simply do not have the infrastructure, time or manpower to track you down personally.

So many people move from house to house, and even out of state, that it's impossible to keep track. T

This is especially true with inheritance. There's really no feasible way that the government can track you down through their Treasury department.

The IRS, of course, is another story, if you owe them money.

You might actually have unclaimed funds out there waiting for you.

The best possible way to check is to contact your state's treasury personally.

You can find them through their website, which will be a DotOrg extension, or you can call them personally to check.

There's certainly no guarantee that you have any money or property that you're owed, but millions of Americans do, and you might be one of them.

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