Don’t fall for unclaimed funds scam
COLUMBUS – David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, warns Ohioans to be alert to an e-mail scam telling the recipient that they have international unclaimed funds worth millions in cash.
The e-mail fraudently says it is from an unclaimed funds official and implies that an FBI agent vetted the matter. It tries to sound official and that the recipient doesn’t have to pay to obtain the funds. If an e-mail recipient responds, they are directed to contact an overseas attorney.
“Pure and simple – this is a scam. We will not have Ohioans ripped off by taking advantage of our unclaimed funds program that returns Ohioans’ hard-earned money to the rightful owners,” Director Goodman said. “The sender of the e-mail is not looking to return the money – they want to trick the recipient to obtain their personal financial information.”
Director Goodman is concerned that the fraudulent e-mail is attributed to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. The department’s Division of Unclaimed Funds is a member of the organization. “This fraudulent e-mail simply has nothing to do with unclaimed funds,” Director Goodman said.
The Division of Unclaimed Funds would not direct a claims recipient to a private third party, charge fees to claim funds, or request bank account information. The Division would be able to provide information on who reported the funds and be able to assist in the claims process.
The Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds works aggressively to reunite Ohioans with their hard- earned money. In Fiscal Year 2011, the Division returned more than $60.9 million to current or former Ohioans. The average paid claim was for $1,318.
If an Ohioan should receive the e-mail, Director Goodman encourages them to delete it or report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov
Ohioans can search for unclaimed funds at the Division’s website at www.com.ohio.gov/ unfd/TreasureHunt.aspx Indi- viduals without Internet access can write to the Division with the names to be checked and the Ohio counties in which the individual(s) have lived. The Division’s address is:
Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds 77 South High Street, 20th Floor Columbus, OH 43215