Some Kind of Scam

Unclaimed Property
May 12 2015

By Regina Higginbotham, Unclaimed Property Division

Over the last 3 weeks around 400,000 Unclaimed Property inserts went out in West Virginia newspapers. By now some of you may have found your name, called the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office, completed and mailed in your paperwork or perhaps all of the above. But there are others who may have seen their name or that of a friend or relative and just ignored it. After all this has to be some kind of scam, doesn’t it?

Almost daily we are warned about a new scam. The article Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors from the National Council on Aging notes “Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” This helps explain why some people might be a little suspicious.

So how can you determine if the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property program and the inserts are legitimate?

1.    If you find your name in our bulletin or on our website, we ask that you contact us. Most properties can be claimed using the original requested information of the claim form, Driver’s License or other valid photo ID, and documentation of the social security number. You may provide only the last 4 digits of your social security number unless it is interest bearing or security related (stocks, bonds or dividends) properties. The Internal Revenue Service requires that we obtain a W-9 form with the social security number for those types of accounts for tax reporting purposes.  


2.    We don’t want your money. The fact is that we are hoping to send you a check! Unclaimed Property searches are provided as a FREE service to the public. There is never a fee charged by the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office to claim your money. Since being elected to office in 1996, Treasurer John Perdue has made it a number one priority to reunite people with their accounts.


3.    We will not send you an unexpected e-mail…If you have initiated an claim through our website we will respond to you through the email address you have provided but we will not send you an email out of the blue saying you have unclaimed property. The businesses reporting the accounts as unclaimed often don’t have an email address to give us. If they did, there is a good chance they would still be in contact with you and the account would not be considered abandoned. 


4.    We don’t ask for your bank account information. While we dream of someday being able to pay out an approved claim by directly depositing the funds into your bank account instead of sending you a check, it is still a long way off. If that becomes a possibility down the road we will let you know well in advance.

If you ever have any questions about the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office programs you can contact our office at 304-558-5000 or access our website at If an individual approaches you telling you have unclaimed property with our office ask for identification. All employees of the office have a photo identification card with the State Treasurer’s Official Seal, the Treasurer’s Signature and the date issued. Believe it or not, we are from the government and we are here to help.  

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The Treasury does not collect state taxes. Visit the The West Virginia State Tax Department for assistance.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Capitol Complex Building #1, Room E-145
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
304-558-5000 Toll Free: 800-422-7498

Copyright 2018 by West Virginia State Treasurer's Office