Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

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TxInjun
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 12:05 pm

Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by TxInjun »

Hello fellow Bogleheads,

I received a letter in early March, letterhead of Betty T. Yee, CA State Controller, saying that I have unclaimed property (value of $270) with Western Union. The letter further gives an 866 number and an email address (unclaimedproperty@westernunion.com - domain name checks out). When I call the number, there's a recording asking me to e-mail them copies of my Govt ID, the CA letter and proof of residence. I'm supposed to complete this by 6/1.

I have no recollection of leaving funds at WU or getting any notice of settlement, although I did use them almost 10 years ago (maybe longer). Sending proof of my address and a pic of my DL seems harmless enough, they already have my address. Question: is this a scam, or have some of you dealt with this with a successful outcome in the past?

Cheers

TxIn
dukeblue219
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by dukeblue219 »

Check https://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html

Remember that requests for seemingly small pieces of identifying information can be used along with other pieces to steal your identity.

Could be legit but I'd be really wary before moving forward. Any out-of-the-blue offers of free money should be treated with great care.
HomeStretch
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by HomeStretch »

Did you google to see how CA handles escheated property? It sounds like a scam since it looks like you are supposed to send the information to a Western Union email. In my state, escheated funds are turned over to the state. You submit the claim to the state and it’s the state, not the business, that sends you a check. Verify before providing any info.
bob60014
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by bob60014 »

It took 5 seconds to find it, here is the direct link to the California Unclaimed Property search.

https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx
Dottie57
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by Dottie57 »

TxInjun wrote: Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:08 pm Hello fellow Bogleheads,

I received a letter in early March, letterhead of Betty T. Yee, CA State Controller, saying that I have unclaimed property (value of $270) with Western Union. The letter further gives an 866 number and an email address (unclaimedproperty@westernunion.com - domain name checks out). When I call the number, there's a recording asking me to e-mail them copies of my Govt ID, the CA letter and proof of residence. I'm supposed to complete this by 6/1.

I have no recollection of leaving funds at WU or getting any notice of settlement, although I did use them almost 10 years ago (maybe longer). Sending proof of my address and a pic of my DL seems harmless enough, they already have my address. Question: is this a scam, or have some of you dealt with this with a successful outcome in the past?

Cheers

TxIn
Don’t just don’t. Western union is used for many scams.

Since you have time, try to contact Betty T Yee . Does she work for CA or WU?

Is $270 worth the problems fraudulent use of your information would bring?
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Watty
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by Watty »

TxInjun wrote: Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:08 pm Sending proof of my address and a pic of my DL seems harmless enough, they already have my address.
I agree that you need to use extreme caution but a copy of your passport might be safer than your driver's license.
sport
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by sport »

My suggestion would be to go to the California unclaimed funds web site, verify the unclaimed funds, and follow the instructions there. Any instructions in the letter should be ignored. I am not in California. However, in my experience, the state does not reach out to you to offer unclaimed funds. You have to go to them and request them.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by unclescrooge »

Total scam. Hard pass.
bikesandbeers
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by bikesandbeers »

Yes Betty Yee is state controller. I would call the state first, they may have some sort of settlement agreement with Western Union. If it is a scam, there's be very interested in whoever is using Ms Yee's name
EZ James
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by EZ James »

Do not respond to the letter.

Go directly to CA unclaimed property site here: https://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html

The site looks easy to use and has a section devoted to warning you about the numerous scams being used.
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celia
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by celia »

Having filed claims with CA and received the funds from them, I think that they are now notified that assets will soon be turned over to the state but before that happens, you would be notified to collect them from the holding party if you want to do that before they get to the state. The letter might be referring to this process.

In any case, if you don’t do anything and this is legit, the state should be holding it after June 1.

Have you done a look-up in California’s database? If it holds similar information there, they already hold it or are about to and you can file a claim with the state for free.

There are some “legit” companies, that, for a fee and with your authorization, will collect the money for you, subtract their fee, then send you the rest. This is fine for those who don’t know that states hold unclaimed property or those without internet. But the OP obviously can file for him/herself for free. But this does not appear to be from one of those companies.

Note that these are companies that just search the database and pull out random names and addresses and the amount being held and send a letter to the stated address. It is public data. If you receive such a letter, you should just search the database yourself and cut out the “AUM” fee! :beer

Even if you have never been in CA, since we are the state with the largest population, we are designated as the default unclaimed property repository in cases where it is not known where the owner lived or if they lived outside the US.


PS. The envelope addressed to you would be proof of your address since you received it.
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Watty
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by Watty »

TxInjun wrote: Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:08 pm When I call the number, there's a recording asking me to e-mail them copies of my Govt ID, the CA letter and proof of residence.
I reread this, if they do not provide a physical address to mail this to and require it be emailed then it is a scam.
rgs92
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Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by rgs92 »

Total, immediately visible, fraud and scam and dangerous; no research needed. Mark the email as spam.
Edit: It looks like you mean snail mail. Rip it up.
Topic Author
TxInjun
Posts: 107
Joined: Fri May 29, 2015 12:05 pm

Re: Western Union Unclaimed Property Letter - Real or Scam?

Post by TxInjun »

Thank you all, for your schooling. I appreciate it. Almost certainly a scam, not sure what I was thinking.

To answer some questions, there is a PO box mailing address on the letter. Nothing shows up on the CA unclaimed property website when I search on it.

Best,

TxIn
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