INDIANA – Free cash you didn’t know you had? It sounds like a dream come true, but it’s actually a trick many consumers have reported to BBB.org/ScamTracker. In this scheme, con artists use the false promise of unclaimed rewards to fool consumers into giving up their credit card information.
How the Scam Works
You receive a postcard in the mail, an email, or a message on social media stating you have an unclaimed reward that can be redeemed with major retailers, such as Walmart and Target stores. According to the message, your reward is worth $100 dollars or more. But you had better act quickly because you only have a few more days to redeem it. You are given a phone number to call to find out how to get your reward.
When you call, you are asked for personal information in order to “confirm your identity.” Con artists may ask you for your name, address, government ID number, or other sensitive details. Once your identity is confirmed, you may be asked to pay a small fee to cover mailing costs. Now, the person needs your debit or credit card number. Scammers will have gained access to your personal information and may attempt to make fraudulent charges using your card information. And, of course, your “unclaimed money” will never arrive because it never existed.
An Indianapolis woman reported to BBB Scam Tracker that she received a postcard in the mail stating, “Our records indicate that you have an unclaimed reward on your account. We are holding $100 in savings for you good at Walmart, Target and more in your name.” The card went on to give a phone number and a verification number with a time frame to claim the reward.
How to Protect Yourself from Unclaimed Asset Scams:
- Be wary of unsolicited correspondence. If you receive an unsolicited letter, phone call, email or any other kind of correspondence from a stranger, be careful. Most legitimate companies will not contact you this way unless you have previously given them permission to do so.
- Never give your personal information to strangers. Never give anyone you don’t know and trust access to any of your personal information. This includes your full name, phone number, address, your ID numbers, credit card numbers and your banking information.
For More Information
To find out more about how to protect yourself from scams and con artists, visit BBB.org/ScamTips. In the United States, learn more about unclaimed money and how to find it at USA.gov/unclaimed-money.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, help others avoid the same fate by reporting your experience on the BBB.org/ScamTracker.
ABOUT BBB SERVING CENTRAL INDIANA: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB serving Central Indiana, which was founded in 1916 and serves 46 counties.