LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A notification that you may have unclaimed money can be exciting, but it’s just one of the ways criminals are trying to get into your wallet.
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 the Better Business Bureau.
In this scheme, con artists use the false promise of unclaimed rewards to fool consumers into giving up their credit card information.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, says your “unclaimed money” will never arrive because it never existed.
“In this particular scam, they draw you in by telling you they have some unclaimed rewards a lot of times that’s financial compensation money of some type they reach out to you whether it’s a text message email some cases mail and the actual mail or even a message on social media telling you that they have some unclaimed rewards in your name and that you need to contact them given a phone number to claim those rewards,” added Babin.
When you call, you are asked for personal information to “confirm your identity.” Con-artists may ask for your name, address, government id number, or other sensitive details.
“A lot of times with these instances that we’ve had reported recently the reward isn’t that much,” said Babin. “It’s maybe $50 or $100, but the thing is what they’re after is your personal identifiable information and your credit and debit card bank account information.”
Once your identity is confirmed, you may be asked to pay a small fee to cover mailing costs for your rewards.
Babin said, “Scammers are using a sense of urgency so they tell you that you have 3-5 days to claim your reward, of course, trying to get you… sense of emotion excited about a reward and something that you have to react to right away.”
Scammers will have gained access to your personal information and may attempt to make fraudulent charges using your credit card.
Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself from this scam:
- Be wary of unsolicited correspondence. If you receive an unsolicited letter, phone call, or email from a stranger, be careful. Most legitimate companies will not contact you this way.
- Never give your personal information to strangers— especially those who you don’t know or trust.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.