Mid-South BBB president warns of unclaimed property scam

Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 11:33 AM CDT
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Mid-South Better Business Bureau President Randy Hutchinson is warning the public of a specific type of scammer after receiving a letter involving unclaimed property.

According to the BBB, Hutchinson received the letter from someone allegedly posing as a lawyer in Canada. The letter stated that there was a $10.6 million life insurance policy that was held by client, Robert Hutchinson, who died in a car accident about nine years ago.

The lawyer told Hutchinson that no family had been located in relation to the policy and the two of them should split the proceeds and donate 10 percent to a charity.

The BBB also says the scammer attempted to create a website to appear credible. The organization noted that the website had been created less than a month ago--which is to be considered a red flag.

“This is a variation on the more common scam in which the crook claims to have found property that legitimately belongs to the recipient of the letter,” Hutchinson said. “Somewhere along the line, Whiteman would have asked me to pay a fee for taxes or some other reason to get my share.”

There are credible companies that can find unclaimed property, but should be handled with caution, according to the BBB.

The organization recommends to read those companies’ contracts thoroughly and be wary of paying fees up front before receiving the property.

The BBB has also reported a few steps that can be used to avoid your property becoming abandoned:

Create a will.

Make a list of all your accounts including bank accounts, retirement accounts, brokerage and investment accounts, insurance policies, trusts, safe deposit boxes, and other accounts and keep it in a safe place. Share it with family members.

Keep in touch with your financial institutions.

Cash or deposit checks without delay.

Use gift cards, traveler’s checks and gift certificates promptly.

Unclaimed or abandoned property can include accounts, stocks, bonds and safe deposit boxes that haven’t received any activity within a year or longer.

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