EPISODE 42~ FIND YOURS: Missing Money: Beware of Unclaimed Money Scams That Try To Take Your Money Instead of Giving It To You

Let’s talk about our actual “find yours” topic for today: unclaimed money scams.  Fraudsters who try to get in on the unclaimed money goodness.  The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators or ‘NAUPA” is warning that scammers have been taking the group’s name in vain and trying to take YOUR money.

NAUPA is made up of government folks from every state department that works to return people’s unclaimed money.   So, needless to say, they were not happy about this.  The association posted a fake letter on its website to warn and educated people about the scam and I will link you to that page from EasyMoneyShow.com/42 so you can see for yourself.

The letter claims to alert people to an unclaimed sweepstakes listing in their name.  I have never heard of sweepstakes winnings being turned over as unclaimed money.  Clearly a scam. 

So what are the bad guys after?  In the sweepstakes letter they claim you have won $750,000, but that you owe taxes of $112,500.  That’s their hook, their way of extracting money from victims.  They are hoping you will pay them the hundred-grand-plus before you notice they haven’t paid you ANYTHING.   

This fraudulent letter even MENTIONS scams in an attempt to head off any concerns recipients may have.  Here’s a quote: “It is very important to stay alert for sweepstakes scams, however it is also equally important not to let your win pass you by because of things that might seem a little strange but are actually  a normal part of the award registration process.”  The letter goes on to advise people not to tell anyone about their win.  That’s probably an attempt to keep you from reporting this to the authorities.  Clever in an evil sort of way!

The letter appears to be on official NAUPA stationery, which is part of the hoax, but a telltale tip off to this ripoff are lots of subtle spelling and grammar errors.  For example, one line in the letter mistakenly says “After taxes you are entitled to receive AND amount of $450,000.”

So, what can we learn from this? 

  1. You should know that NAUPA never contacts people about unclaimed money.  It is just an association that government unclaimed money employees belong to, where they trade information about best practices for administering and returning unclaimed money.
  2. If you receive a letter from ANYONE claiming you have unclaimed money out there somewhere, you should ignore their requests for a cut of the cash and do a search yourself.  As always, the 2 FREE sites where you can find 90 percent of unclaimed money are MissingMoney.com and unclaimed.org.
  3. And finally, you should know that when you do claim legitimate unclaimed money, you are NEVER asked to pay taxes of fees to collect that money.  Ever.

Stay alert, people!

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