Scams. They're everywhere. There are email scams, text message scams, Instagram comment scams, Twitter DM scams, everywhere you look it seems like someone's trying to get a hold of your personal information.
So it's only natural for this Redditor to receive correspondence from a company called Bank Mobile that alleged there was some unclaimed property they could get their hands on, and think it's fishy.
When trying to get to the bottom of any "offer" to find out if it's a scam, all you really need to do is some Googling to find out whether or not the agencies involved are legitimate. If they have terrible BBB ratings then there's a good chance that the "business" involved is a total scam. If you're getting phone calls, just searching that particular number will let you know if there's something fishy you should be aware of.
But is the Bank Mobile "unclaimed property" message necessarily a scam?
As it turns out, Bank Mobile is a completely legitimate, real financial entity. One Redditor questioned in a post they put up in r/scams, "I received a letter from a bank called "Bank Mobile - a Customer Bank" claiming that I had unclaimed property in the form of a checking account since 2015. My first reaction was, 'Huh?'. I don't even have a bank account."
They continued, "I gave them a call, and they wanted to verify my information to see if I am the true owner of the account. They asked for my name and school, and when they asked for my birthdate, I snapped and told them I wasn't going to give them personal information. I hung up."
As it turns out, however, Bank Mobile wasn't trying to scam them:
"So it turns out, it was legitimate, lmao. The unclaimed property was unused financial aid money that I forgot about since 2015. I called my school to verify, and they exclaimed that it was indeed legitimate. I called the bank and the same guy answered the call. I apologized profusely for cussing him out. He said not to worry about it as he would have done the same thing if he thought he was being scammed. In the end, I got A LOT of money back that I'm giving back to my loan provider."
Shoutout to the American Eagle in my small town mall for not paying me my last paycheck in 2012 so that 8 years later I could find it as unclaimed property and be $189 richer in the middle of a global pandemic— Katie Gray (@HeyitsKatieGray) May 28, 2020
Other Reddit posts about Bank Mobile have popped up, but rest assured, the financial institution actually has a history of dispersing pell grants, loans, and other forms of college funds. Obviously with any "cash offer" you need to make sure it's actually Bank Mobile that you're speaking to and not some guy pretending to be Bank Mobile, so if you are suspicious, hang up and call the actual number of Bank Mobile. You can find all their legitimate contact info here.
There are other "Unclaimed Money" messages that actually aren't a scam.
A New York Times article detailed how one man kept getting messages about there being unclaimed money he was entitled to, and he thought it was a total scam. Turns out it wasn't, and thanks to a dogged State Treasurer, he was able to secure a lofty sum of $763,000 to himself.
Curtis Loftis of South Carolina reached out to the man, whose mother remarried after his father died.
My office works diligently to return unclaimed property to you in these trying times. This can be a huge help to families right now.— Treasurer Ball (@KYTreasurer) May 28, 2020
What is unclaimed property? Who is a holder? How can you find lost property? Your questions answered here: https://t.co/Qkx3FNqFBY
As it turns out, there was some confusion as to the man's inheritance from his father, as the knowledge of the man's correct last name came into question. Since the lawyer who was holding on to the money couldn't get to the bottom of it, he gave the money to the State Treasury, and that's when Curtis decided to get to work.
It took Curtis a few conversations with the man to prove he was, indeed, entitled to the $763,000, but he was finally able to get the cash in the heir's account and that dude was more than 3/4 of a million dollars richer.
If you want to see if the US Government owes you any unclaimed money, you can here to USA.gov to find out if the Feds are holding onto your cash. And if you get a message about "unclaimed property", do some diligence on the company that's telling you about it and discover whether or not someone's jerking your chain.