The Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans about a company that is mailing postcards to citizens asking them to call and search their name for unclaimed funds.
The postcards have appeared in various colors including green, blue, yellow and orange. Regardless of the color, they are not being sent out by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds, the official state agency tasked with reuniting Ohioans with lost or forgotten money.
How the scheme works: A citizen receives the postcard instructing him/her to call a toll free telephone number. A prompt asks the caller for their Social Security Number. The recorded message then instructs the caller to search for unclaimed property at www.unclaimed.org, the official website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), which makes the communication seem like a legitimate search for funds.
David Milby, Executive Director of NAUPA, says NAUPA has no involvement with the postcards. Milby added that he has found multiple reports on the Internet explaining that the company mailing the postcards is a debt collector. It is believed that the company disguises itself as having something to do with unclaimed property as a means to buy time to collect more information and skirt debt collection laws.
“It is a shame that some bad actors are attempting to take advantage of our mission of returning Ohioans’ hard-earned money to them,” said Andre Porter, Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce. “The sender of these postcards is not looking to return money to Ohioans. Rather, this is an attempt to trick the recipient into providing personal and financial information.”
The company in question is not registered with the Department of Commerce and is therefore not authorized to engage in such activity. Director Porter strongly encourages Ohioans to work directly with the Division of Unclaimed Funds.
“Our forms are official, free and will lead to claim payment once proper verification is approved,” he said.