Unknown perpetrator telling people unclaimed money awaits them
West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue is warning West Virginians of a new scam involving text messages being sent to individuals claiming they have unclaimed assets with the state. Perdue’s office has recently received several complaints from individuals receiving these anonymous text messages.
“This scam has been gaining traction around the nation for several weeks, and now it is in West Virginia,” Treasurer Perdue said. “Our office does not send out official text messages to alert people about unclaimed property.”
The text messages may ask recipients to click on a link or reply to a message. Perdue says people should ignore these prompts and not respond. An example of such a text can be found on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) website, www.naupa.org.
As with past scams, Treasurer Perdue cautions people to ignore correspondence that cannot be verified by calling the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division or logging onto the official office website at wvtreasury.com. The State Treasurer’s Office does periodically send out notification letters, but the letters are on official office letterhead and ask the recipient to contact the office directly or log onto the website. Claimants will only be asked to share personal information after they file a claim.
In West Virginia, anyone can locate and claim unclaimed money for free by going through the State Treasurer’s Office. This is a public service and there is never a charge.
“You should always deal with our office when it comes to unclaimed property to prevent becoming a victim of a scam,” Treasurer Perdue said.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset from which an individual has become unintentionally separated, such as a final paycheck, a forgotten security deposit or abandoned safe deposit box contents.
Treasurer Perdue’s administration has returned more than $224 million in unclaimed property to rightful owners. Just last month, the office unveiled a new unclaimed property website and management system. People can access it by visiting wvtreasury.com.
People searching for unclaimed property online can now upload documents directly to the website and track a claim online. Other new features include mobile compatibility for smartphones and tablets, improved online reporting for unclaimed property holders, and stronger security protections for both holders and claimants.
To find out more about West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property program, visit wvtreasury.com or call 1-800-642-8687.