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Unclaimed Money Scams: Facts and Myths

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Unclaimed Money Scams Prize Draws

It’s easy to think that you will never be naïve enough to be suckered into one of the many unclaimed money scams. But the temptation may be too much to resist when times are tight and there is a chance of some free money. Knowing the facts and myths of the unclaimed money scams should ensure you do not line anyone else’s pockets.

There is No Such Thing as Unclaimed Money

The fact is there is a huge amount of money available that has gone unclaimed by the rightful owners. Most of this money will come in the form of old and forgotten about bank accounts. However, scammers have cottoned onto the fact that many people do not think they are entitled to any unclaimed money. Scammers will then pretend they will provide the service of finding unclaimed money, for a fee.

A Fee is Required to Find Unclaimed Money

Indeed there are legitimate unclaimed money finders in the UK who will charge fees for this service. This may come as a percentage of any money found. However, in reality there is nothing that these unclaimed money finders can do that you cannot do yourself. If claimants do fall for a scam then they will end up paying a fee and giving personal and financial details that can be used for other purposes. The scammers will never actually locate any unclaimed money.

There is No Way to Tell It’s a Scam

In fact it’s usually quite easy to spot an unclaimed money scam, especially if it comes via the Internet. These emails will usually be unsolicited; meaning you have not requested this information. Then the email will inform you that there are millions of unclaimed funds available in the UK and that you are entitled to a percentage of it. How do these people actually know that you are entitled to any unclaimed money without any of your personal or financial information?

Tell No One about Unclaimed Money

This is a common request from Internet scammers and the reason is obvious. The scammers do not want their details to be passed around because it means they have to set up different email accounts. There is a growing awareness of Internet scammers and people are reporting the details they have to the authorities. The scammers hope that they can obtain your money as quickly as possible before anyone else can alert the victims of the scam.

There is No Harm in Checking

The fact is that even if you open the email the scammer is aware that your email address is active. This can mean that your email box will then be flooded with spam, viruses and advertising. The scammer may supply a phone number on which the claimant can contact them. These numbers will usually be premium rate numbers costing around £1.50 to £2.00 per minute. The money from these calls will go to the scammer and they will keep the claimant on the line for as long as possible.

Prize Draws are Not Scams

People who receive emails informing them that they have won prize draws should be very wary. For one thing you will not usually ever win a draw or a lottery if you have never actually bought a ticket. In most cases this scam involves administration fees and bank account details; never give fees or financial details. Remember, legitimate timeshare companies also use the prize draw scam as away to get prize winners to timeshare sales appointments.

If it Looks to Good to Be True, it is

This is an old saying that is a fact where Internet scams are concerned. Scammers rely on the fact that everyone loves something for nothing, or next to nothing. Many people do actually fall for these scams every single day of the week. The emails look professionally written and are written in such a way that claimants are practically guaranteed money. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and victims can end up losing all the money they have.

Unclaimed money scams are not new but many unwary people are still being duped into losing large amounts of money every day. Remember, if a total stranger were to come up to you on the street and offer you a cheque in return for bank details and a cash fee would you do it. This is the same principle to bear in mind with unclaimed money emails.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Everything here is perfectly true, especially the last point. All too often scammers, especially in this situation, rely on the fact that people feel they don’t have to knowledge to make their own checks on unclaimed money, so they can exploit them. In fact, it’s simple to do, or use a legit company with good references, a street address and landline number.
wisdom - 20-Sep-12 @ 3:16 PM
Hi took out some premium bonds back in the 1950's and bought more regularly. I have moved address (several times!) since then and suddenly remembered about them. I lost the actual paper work but by some fluke I had the numbers and was able to cash them in (proof of me was needed ----birth cert etc). What I didn't/couldn't find out was whether the numbers had actually come up as winners as their records didn't go back that far! Keep tabs on all your policies, savings and bonds is the only advice I can give.
BondGirl - 17-May-12 @ 10:18 AM
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