Attorney General Warns About Possible Con Artist Offering to Locate Unclaimed Property


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 7, 2000

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. is alerting Marylanders to a possible scam involving a man who says he can help people claim unclaimed property.

A Garrett County woman received a call last week from someone who said he worked for State Government and that her name had been listed in the newspaper as someone who was eligible to receive unclaimed property. He said his agency sends workers out to locate people whose names are listed and get identifying information from them. With her permission, he came to her home and obtained her Social Security Number and driver's license number. He said that she would hear from him within 90 days.

The Maryland Comptroller's Office, the agency that handles unclaimed property such as abandoned bank accounts, utility deposits and stocks, does not make personal phone calls to people whose names are on the unclaimed property list. Instead, it publishes the list in newspapers throughout the state, has information booths at the Maryland State Fair and other venues, has an unclaimed property page on its website, and sometimes sends mailings to people whom it has been able to locate.

"We are very concerned that this person may be trying to obtain personal information for fraudulent purposes," said Attorney General Curran. "We want to remind people not to give out their information to strangers and to check out claims that the person represents a government agency."

Curran says that anytime someone says he or she is with a government agency and needs information, "Don't give them any information until you have called the agency, using numbers from the telephone book or directory information, and checked out their story. Identification badges, business cards or stationery can all be faked."

People who wish to find out if they are on the unclaimed property list can call the Comptroller's Office at (410) 767-1700, toll-free 1 (800) 782-7383 outside Baltimore, or visit the Comptroller's Office website at www.comp.state.md.us.


Media inquiries: Sean Caine (410) 576-6357