BEWARE of unclaimed money offers in the mail

Tuesday, August 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Thousands of dollars in unclaimed money - just waiting for you. It's a promise popping up in mailboxes across Oklahoma. Some might be legitimate - about 5% of us do have unclaimed money out there - whether it's old bank accounts or maybe a tax refund.

How do you know which offers are real? KOTV's Diane White has some answers in a Consumer 6 alert. "Cash payment amount - 5000 bucks." $5,000 in unclaimed money - the offer caught Archie Ramsey's eye. His wife, Alfreda Ramsey, "He really thinks he has the money coming to him. He thinks he's going to get it." He gets many letters each week. "Then you've got - a facsimile of a check for 5000 dollars." A check he thought was real. Archie Ramsey, "Then the wife comes back and she says - look at the fine print." It says he has to first send in money - $26 dollars. He's done it before - and hasn't gotten a cent. Alfreda, "As soon as they come in the mail, I go to the trash can and he digs them out of the trash." This time they called Consumer 6.

KOTV showed the letters to an expert. John Manley with Full Circle Services, Inc., "I'm always curious about round figures that don't have specific amounts." John Maley has been finding unclaimed money for eleven years. "These two basically fail right off the bat for asking for funs up front. Anytime they ask for upfront money, that's a sure sign of a scam." Other signs: companies that ask for a social security number or a power of attorney. He says legitimate businesses such as his give detailed information about the unclaimed money in their letter. "We do the math for them. We show them exactly what they're going to end up with. There are not obligations for our clients to initiate claims. So if they don't get paid, we don't get paid." He has resources at his fingertips.