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Is this a scam ?
Old 10-05-2020, 07:41 AM   #1
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Is this a scam ?

I received a letter from Payne Richards & Associates recently that said they were "contacting me regarding a refund/stock transferred into a third party trust account where it is being held on your behalf for safekeeping".
My first impression was off to the recycle bin, but then I read through the one page letter, and found a reference to a web site www.osc.state.ny.us which appears to be in the valid ny.us domain and thus should be a reputable site. I did a search there with only required my name. The search returned an unclaimed asset with an old address (about 1981 address I believe). Says it was reported in 2005 by LIFE INVESTORS INS CO PDI.


Has anyone else been contacted with reported abandoned property ? I've done searches in Nevada and Virginia, 2 states I have lived in but never found anything. I'm wondering if there is any history of solicitations like this being a scam ? They want me to send proof of the 2 addresses listed for me, the 1981 address and our current address. I'm thinking the only thing I would have from 81 is a tax return and don't want to submit that to anyone, government or not. Even if it is true there is abandoned property that now is mine, it would have to be many thousands of dollars to let a 81 tax return out in the wild.



I'm inclined to trash this and forget about it.
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Old 10-05-2020, 07:52 AM   #2
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My guess is that the originator of your letter is a fee-based company that searches these state unclaimed property databases and then tries to match them up with potential claimants, taking a sizeable cut in the process. Why not just go through the free door at the state of NY and claim the entire amount yourself?

I found an unclaimed refund in my name from a previous state in the US and went through the simple online process. It was for $20 and worth my small investment of time and energy.

-BB
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Old 10-05-2020, 07:57 AM   #3
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It maybe worth your time to get in touch with your State and proper agency/department and ask some questions. They maybe able to tell you if it is a scam or the intentions are legit.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bryan Barnfellow View Post
My guess is that the originator of your letter is a fee-based company that searches these state unclaimed property databases and then tries to match them up with potential claimants, taking a sizeable cut in the process. Why not just go through the free door at the state of NY and claim the entire amount yourself?

I found an unclaimed refund in my name from a previous state in the US and went through the simple online process. It was for $20 and worth my small investment of time and energy.

-BB
+1 https://www.google.com/search?q=uncl...hrome&ie=UTF-8
The first one looks promising but use your instincts.
Perhaps use the bbb articlelink first:
https://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/ge...laimed-assets/
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:12 AM   #5
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Agree, it sounds like a company that will take a percentage of the currently unclaimed money. They search the state lists, and for "helping" you get the money, they take a percentage.
If the money is real, you can go through the state process direct as Bryan suggested.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:15 AM   #6
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Something similar happened to one of our sons. He received a letter from some outfit saying they found some unclaimed money in Florida (where he did live for a time) and they would help him get it. Of course, for a fee. I know about looking for unclaimed property directly, so I showed him how to file a claim thru the FL government website. It was true, he had a couple of paychecks from some part time work that he never claimed and they did not have a forwarding address for him as he had moved overseas.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:23 AM   #7
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Does this unclaimed amount show up on the New York state unclaimed property website? If so, I would go through that... no need to share the bounty with anyone.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:39 AM   #8
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One of my nephews discovered his widowed mom (my sister-in-law) had for a period of years been discarding most of her mail and putting aside other letters that "looked important" but never opening them. One of the unopened letters was from a "we will help you get your unclaimed money for a fee" company.

He looked into it and found it was legit - his mom had apparently ignored repeated attempts from a life insurance company to pay her the six figure policy benefits when my brother died several years ago. He got the money for her and it is currently funding her stay in a very nice memory care facility. (See how he managed to get her into the facility when she didn't want to go here: https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2374514)
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:43 AM   #9
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My wife got one of those letters about 12 years ago. We weren't as savvy at the time, so we signed all the papers and sent it back. The middleman company took about 30%. Not a huge dollar figure luckily.

My recommendation is to go through the state and remove the middleman.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
Something similar happened to one of our sons. He received a letter from some outfit saying they found some unclaimed money in Florida (where he did live for a time) and they would help him get it. Of course, for a fee. I know about looking for unclaimed property directly, so I showed him how to file a claim thru the FL government website. It was true, he had a couple of paychecks from some part time work that he never claimed and they did not have a forwarding address for him as he had moved overseas.
It is probably true, do not pay the middle man thou. I got one of those letters about a property tax refund that I knew about and was in process of collecting myself. They do look for these things. You do not need any help.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:57 AM   #11
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Thanks for the responses. I did file a claim at the NY state site and will send confirmation of the 2 addresses they listed. Google search of the company found reviews on yelp that said they had helped and others that had the advice to go directly to the state. If I run into problems I'll post an update. I'm confident it is a small amount of money. I had a couple different life insurance policies sold to soldiers when I was young. Also had a plaid suit from a tailor that sold to young solders. HA - I destroyed the photo evidence of that suit.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:29 AM   #12
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I got one of those letters when I was my uncle's will executor. I reached out to the unclaimed property department of the sate in question and ended up adding some forgotten 50+k investment to the estate. Quick and simple process if you have the necessary paperwork.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
One of my nephews discovered his widowed mom (my sister-in-law) had for a period of years been discarding most of her mail and putting aside other letters that "looked important" but never opening them. One of the unopened letters was from a "we will help you get your unclaimed money for a fee" company.

He looked into it and found it was legit - his mom had apparently ignored repeated attempts from a life insurance company to pay her the six figure policy benefits when my brother died several years ago. He got the money for her and it is currently funding her stay in a very nice memory care facility. (See how he managed to get her into the facility when she didn't want to go here: https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2374514)
Wow - what a story! I’m glad she set those letters aside and one of her children finally discovered it. What a blessing to have those funds when needed.

Is this the same SIL that you worried about her kids letting her have access to the car and her getting lost driving? If so, glad she’s in a comfortable memory care unit.

OK - I see from your link that it is.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:46 AM   #14
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Early 1990s, not long back from Saudi, no internet.......received a letter from a guy in Quebec advising me of unclaimed funds, (I'd closed out/depleted accounts before leaving Canada but this must've been a subsequent deposit).

It was an 'on faith' deal - he told me where the money was, (held by the Canadian government at this time), I collected it and sent him his fee.

A few years later, with internet, I logged into the abovementioned government site, found out that my ex-wife also had a few hundred dollars in unclaimed funds. Wasn't in contact with her, so passed on the info to one of her brothers. Checked a couple years later...money was still there.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:48 AM   #15
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Thanks for the responses. I did file a claim at the NY state site and will send confirmation of the 2 addresses they listed. Google search of the company found reviews on yelp that said they had helped and others that had the advice to go directly to the state. If I run into problems I'll post an update. I'm confident it is a small amount of money. I had a couple different life insurance policies sold to soldiers when I was young. Also had a plaid suit from a tailor that sold to young solders. HA - I destroyed the photo evidence of that suit.
Good plan....if your claim is paid you could send Payne Richards & Assoc a nice Thank You card for alerting you to the property
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Old 10-05-2020, 01:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by RetireBy90 View Post
Thanks for the responses. I did file a claim at the NY state site and will send confirmation of the 2 addresses they listed. Google search of the company found reviews on yelp that said they had helped and others that had the advice to go directly to the state. If I run into problems I'll post an update. I'm confident it is a small amount of money. I had a couple different life insurance policies sold to soldiers when I was young. Also had a plaid suit from a tailor that sold to young solders. HA - I destroyed the photo evidence of that suit.
My guess is at least a few hundred dollars or why would they bother?

I had experience with these type of firms a few decades ago in a corporate environment when I was CFO of a large telecom that had experienced rapid growth and some financial sloppiness that I inherited.

In a few cases we could not determine the source of the funds and in those it was worth the finder's fee to collect it.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:38 PM   #17
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...
A few years later, with internet, I logged into the abovementioned government site, found out that my ex-wife also had a few hundred dollars in unclaimed funds. Wasn't in contact with her, so passed on the info to one of her brothers. Checked a couple years later...money was still there.

I had to chuckle at that. When our son had the issue I mentioned above, I decided to check several other states that my in-laws, siblings, nieces, and nephews had lived or were living in, and found six of them had unclaimed money. I notified all of them, with instructions and links. It has been a couple of years and only half of them have made the effort to claim their money.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:44 PM   #18
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I just googled them. They charge onky 10% after you get the money. Do it. You owe them at least 10% for money they found to be yours. Easy peasy.
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Is this a scam ?
Old 10-05-2020, 03:52 PM   #19
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Is this a scam ?

I’ve gotten those type of things. I ignore them and think they’re ghouls. People can easily find and follow up (or not) with unclaimed property.

They stop bugging you after a few attempts in my experience.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:20 PM   #20
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In his case, I would have never found it. Never lived in NY. I’ve checked the states where I lived but not NY.
ATTENTION VETS - I assume the reason there is any unclaimed funds in NY is that we were stationed in Europe for total of 10 years. Mailing address was APO NY, so guess NY is where unclaimed funds would go. Vets should probably check California if they had FPO address also.
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