Ohio Dept. of Commerce warns of unclaimed funds scam

COLUMBUS, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans about an Internet company that is charging thousands of Ohioans for unclaimed funds searches and issuing fraudulent claim forms.

"This is a scam being perpetrated against hard-working Ohioans," said Director David Goodman. "No Ohioan should ever pay to search for unclaimed funds or receive a claim form. These services are free from the Division of Unclaimed Funds and we are the official State agency that reunites Ohioans with their lost or forgotten money."

The Division has issued a cease and desist order against Unclaimed Money, LLC doing business as Unclaimed Moneydb.com. The Division ordered the company to stop charging for and producing phony and misleading unclaimed funds forms. The Division orders it to cease immediately from the illegal activity or face civil action and/or criminal prosecution.

"It is shameful for a company to lure people in and take their hard-earned money. We won't stand for it here in Ohio," Director Goodman said.

Here's how the scheme works: You pay a "membership" fee to join the site and search for and receive unclaimed funds. People received a claim form that looked like it was from the state of Ohio. When they signed it and mailed it to the Division, staff recognized the phony forms and that the property ID# belonged to someone else.

The Division sent the claimants official claim forms, and one claim has already been paid.

"I strongly encourage Ohioans to work directly with the Division of Unclaimed Funds, which receives and safeguards Ohio's lost and abandoned property," Director Goodman said. "Our forms are official, free and will lead to claim payment after proper verification."

There are two official unclaimed funds sites that Ohioans need to know. To search for Ohio unclaimed funds, go to the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds website at www.unclaimedfundstreasurehunt.ohio.gov Accounts can also be searched from 36 other states on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators endorsed website at www.missingmoney.com

These are free, safe and official sites to search for and claim unclaimed funds. If an Ohioan should forget these websites and use a search engine, they should be certain to click on the official website of the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds.

If an Ohioan is aware of apparent illegal activity, they should report it to the Division of Unclaimed Funds at unfd.claims@com.state.oh.us or by calling toll free at (877) 644-6823.

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