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State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach is informing the public that several business firms are using the “Freedom of Information Act” to obtain unclaimed property owner information in order to “sell” individuals an unclaimed property search.
Hollenbach states there are also businesses, sometimes called “finders” or “locators,” that find legitimate lost property for owners and offer to help them obtain it for a fee, usually a percentage of the total. The majority of firms that provide these services work within the law, but there are also many unclaimed property scams across the United States.
Hollenbach recommends caution.
“The bottom line is that all the information is accessible free of charge by searching our secure website, or by contacting our unclaimed property office here at the Treasury in Frankfort. A person may pay someone to search and help file a claim if one wishes, but it is truly unnecessary given the high quality of assistance and accessibility we provide at Treasury.”
Once a claim is filed, it is processed by Treasury employees for a maximum fee of one $1 that is deducted from the value of the claimed property.
“Unfortunately, the popularity of our Treasure Finders program and the amount of money involved has created a cottage industry of people offering to serve as intermediaries for a fee,” Hollenbach said. “Some of these intermediaries seek to convince people that their services are necessary to reclaim their property, and their fees are often excessive. My hope is that no one has fallen victim to one of these dubious enterprises. To ensure that people are not being taken advantage of, I encourage them to only go to our secure website or to call us here in Frankfort if they don’t have internet access.”
Through his unclaimed property program, Treasure Finders, Hollenbach has returned over $84 million of lost and abandoned property to thousands of Kentuckians and is still in possession of more than $400 million, which he hopes to return to its rightful owners.
“These record breaking results have been achieved by utilizing a vast network of volunteers who spend time calling members of their community as part of our Treasure Finders initiative,” he said. “Once those people are reached by our volunteers, they are put in contact with a member of our highly capable and helpful staff within the unclaimed property department, who walks each person through the entire process to make it as easy as possible to reclaim their property,”
Hollenbach created the Treasure Finders program in Kentucky as a proactive way to reach out and let Kentuckians know about lost money and other assets being held for them by their state treasurer. This year marks the fifth year anniversary of Treasure Finders.
To securely search for unclaimed property, visit www.missing money.com or call toll free (1-800) 465-4722