State Treasurers in Pennsylvania and South Carolina became the latest public officials to warn people about a recent increase in unclaimed property scams.  You may receive an email or letter informing you that there are billions of dollars of unclaimed or abandoned money being held by the states and federal government and that some of that money is yours.  For a fee, the person or company contacting you will assist you in locating that property  and claiming it for you.  In some instances, the letter or email may appear to come from the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators which is a legitimate organization, but not one that initiates communications to individuals whose funds they are holding.
The truth is that indeed various state and federal agencies are holding more than 24 billion dollars of unclaimed money that is waiting to be retrieved by the rightful owners.  State laws require financial institutions, such as banks, to turn over money from inactive accounts.   Among the assets held by these agencies are savings and checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividend checks, certificates of deposit and utility security deposits.  However, you don’t need the help of these companies to retrieve your unclaimed assets.
In a presently circulating version of the scam, you are told that they are holding a large lottery prize in our name that will be liquidated shortly unless you don’t claim the prize and pay a fee to do so within the next few days.
Some “legitimate” companies may also contact you to assist you in getting back your missing money, but it is important to remember that they cannot have any specific information as to what you are owed because of privacy regulations that prohibit them from obtaining that information.
The best place to find a helping hand to assist you in locating and getting back your abandoned property is at the end of your own arm.  Go to the website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at where you can link on to the website for your own state’s agency that deals with abandoned property and take the steps necessary to claim your abandoned property at no cost to you.  Other useful websites for locating money that you may be owed include, the website for the IRS where you can find tax refund money you may be owed and, the website of the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, a federal agency that holds unclaimed pension funds.