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Attorney General Lockyer and Controller Connell Issue Alert on Unclaimed Property Solicitations
Some Companies Charge Fee for Information the State Provides for Free
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer and State Controller Kathleen Connell today urged California consumers to be wary of official-looking postcards being sent by private companies offering to help reclaim property and money from the state government – for a fee.
"If California is holding money you left in an old bank account or property from a long-forgotten safety deposit box, there are several easy ways to find out – for free," Lockyer said. "You don't need to pay anyone for this service and, contrary to some solicitations, no special ‘document' prepared by private companies is needed to claim this property from the state."
State law requires businesses to turn over unclaimed money and property to the state Controller's Office. The unclaimed property typically stems from bank accounts, dividends, uncashed checks, matured or terminated insurance policies or certificates of deposit. Unclaimed property from a failed bank also may be held by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
"A company contacting you about unclaimed property must provide you with the opportunity to claim the property directly," Connell said. "And the company may not charge a fee that exceeds 10 percent of the value of the unclaimed property."
To find out if the state is holding your unclaimed property, visit the State Controller's Office web site at www.sco.ca.gov and click on the "Unclaimed Property" button. To see if other states are holding your property, visit www.unclaimed.org or www.missingmoney.com. To contact the FDIC, go to www.fdic.gov/index.html..
Information also is available by writing to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property, P.O. Box 942850, Sacramento, CA 94250-5873. For information by phone, California residents may call (800) 992-4647 and out-of-state residents may call (916) 323-2827.