Moore warns of unclaimed property scam
CHARLESTON — The West Virginia State Treasurer is warning residents about a scam call which falsely claims to be from his office.
Riley Moore said the calls could falsely claim to represent his office’s Unclaimed Property Division.
“Scammers frequently use the guise of legitimate initiatives like the Unclaimed Property program to attempt to deceive residents and swindle their money,” Moore said. “It’s important to know that my office will never ask someone to pay for an unclaimed property search or charge them to receive their funds.
“If anyone receives one of these calls, I urge them to write down the number and contact our office to either verify the claim or report the scammer,” Moore said.
The State Treasurer’s Office recently received a complaint that someone was calling residents identifying themselves as a representative of the Unclaimed Property Division and telling individuals they have funds available in their name, a press release states. To obtain those funds, however, the individual is told they need to purchase a reloadable pre-paid debit card and mail it to an address so the funds can be added to it.
The Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Division and local government specialists frequently send letters to residents as part of outreach efforts to connect them with unclaimed property. However, the letters are mailed on official stationery and ask the individual to file a claim using the official www.wvtreasury.com website or the Unclaimed Property phone line at 800-642-8687.
Office representatives will not ask for personal information until after the individual has officially filed a claim., the release states. While the Office does use letters, it does not reach out to consumers using text messages — another frequent scam.
“Scammers will sometimes send a text message asking you to click on a link to recover unclaimed property, when in reality they’re just phishing for personal data,” Moore said. “That’s why it’s important for consumers to know they should contact our Office directly to verify any unclaimed property requests.”
You can access the unclaimed property website by visiting www.wvtreasury.com and clicking the “Are We Holding Your Money?” graphic. You can also contact the division directly at 800-642-8687 or by emailing Eclaims–Support@wvsto.com.
“If anyone ever has any question about the legitimacy of an unclaimed property message, I urge them to call or email our Office,” Moore said. “This is a vital program that reconnects people with their money. Our staff stands ready to help, so if there’s ever a question, feel free to reach out directly to us.”
Unclaimed property can include financial accounts or items of value in which the owner has not initiated any activity for one year or longer. Common examples include unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and uncashed checks.
West Virginia’s unclaimed property laws protect the public by ensuring money and property owed to them is returned to them, rather than remaining permanently with financial institutions, business associations, governments and other entities, the release states.