Unclaimed Cash and Unclaimed Property – You don’t need claims services to get your money

Recently I received a letter from the California state controller’s office that a check had been mailed to one of my old addresses a year ago and that I needed to fill out a form, get it notarized, include proof of who I am, and mail it in to claim the money.

Here is a link to the program. You can actually search on the California State Controller’s website to see if there is unclaimed money that belongs to you: http://www.sco.ca.gov/col/ucp/aboutucp.shtml
(You can copy and paste this web address into your browser if you have any worry about clicking the above link)

I am posting this page because I am disgusted that a company called U.S. Claims Services just sent me a letter offering to help me claim the money for a mere $29.95. I feel obliged to offer a correction based on 2 new letters I received. It’s actually $35, not $29.95 as of 12/19/05.

According to their letter, they say “we will send you the necessary documents and instructions to recover your money.”

In otherwords, for your $29.95 U.S. Claims Services will send you the same forms that the government sends you or that you could download from the state controller’s website.

But wait there’s more. You can go to their website THEN pay $29.95 THEN download the documents from their site! Wow, nice business model. They don’t even have to foot the bill for any postage or printing.

Here is a link to all the forms you need to claim unclaimed cash from the California State Controller’s Office:http://www.sco.ca.gov/col/ucp/forms/index.shtml
You can simply print them out and follow their instructions for documentation needed if you have a valid claim.

If you are outside California visit Unclaimed.org which links to all the United States’ official unclaimed property systems where you can search on your name and probably download forms.

Here is a link to an About.com article about unclaimed cash, which includes a link to info on how to recover unclaimed cash in various states: http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa100399.htm

Comments are now closed to avoid having to manage innacurate posts from competitors etc.

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21 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for putting this information up on the weblog.

    I too received the letter from US Claims Services and was suspicious so I researched them on the internet and found your comments.

    I went to the State Controller’s site and downloaded the forms myself while avoiding paying these thieves.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

  2. SusieW:
    I just received one of these letters today and my husband wanted to know if it was postmarked Nigeria. 🙂 Nonetheless, I googled the company name and found your blog. Yay! BTW – they’ve dropped their price to a mere $24.00. You’re so awesome!
    Super & Thanks,
    Andrea

  3. Actually I was wrong– U.S. Claims’ fee is proportionate to the amount of $ waiting for you. I realized that when I got a letter with a lower fee amoung.

    After all, don’t they deserve a bigger piece of your pie for no extra effort?

    We should all go into this business!

    Glad you found this posting 🙂

  4. Add me to your list of thankful readers. I got a letter from U.S. Claims a few days ago and found your blog by googling the company.

    That Nigeria comment was cute, Andrea.

  5. I saw a letter (dated January 2006) from the same company on my parents’ desk just now, googled the company name, and found your blog. Too late, unfortunately. My parents have already paid these crooks $55.

    According to the state controller’s website, these “agents” can charge up to 10% of the amount you are due.

  6. I asked the California unclaimed property department why they don’t just make the database private – or require some identifiable information to be able to access the details. They seem to think it is a service to the public to have companies like US Claims retrieving your unclaimed cash for you.
    This goes to show how important it is to keep forwarding addresses updated.
    The state does not keep a record once you have proven who you are so every time there is new unclaimed cash, you have to get the forms notarized and fill them out all over again. 😦

    I hope you appreciate my liberal use of the word unclaimed cash with hopes this will come up higher in search results!

  7. I too was suspicious of paying US Claims Services $30 prior to receiving money owed to me…though thankful that they notified me. I searched the internet and found this link. Very informative and this is the very reason why the internet is soo important. Thank you for posting your comments.

  8. Concerning this company, why would you say “What a racket”, and why did most people who wrote comments call this company a scammer? Maybe I am missing something.

    (1) This company has offered a service which the reader can use or not use. An analogy would be a car wash offering to wash your car. In both cases you can do the service yourself or you can elect to have the business do it for you. The car wash doesn’t say “We will wash your car for $10.00 or else you can wash your car yourself and save the $10.00”. It just advertises that they will wash your car for $10.00. Many people are not computer literate and it would be a major hassle for them to get the forms. Anyone who is computer literate and has some brains would do what the people who wrote the comments did: Do a Google search and find out how they can do it themselves. This company offered a service. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. This is American free enterprise. They will provide a service if you will pay them for the service. If you don’t want to use their service, don’t use it.

    (2) I have seldom been so happy with a company who offered me a service as I am with this company. My wife and I were unaware that there were checks sent three years ago which had been undeliverable due to an incorrect address. We would never have known about these checks if it hadn’t been for this company. I expect that is true in most other cases. Yes, I am computer literate enough that I will bypass this company and file for the money directly, but thank God this company alerted my wife and me that there was money waiting for us. We are today $4,000.00 richer than we were yesterday. Thank you U. S. Claims Services for the service of alerting us to the fact that we have money waiting to be claimed. You provided this wonderful service, and you actually did it for free. Thank you.

    Newman

  9. again, i agree with newman….nobody here would not of known of the money owed to them if it wasn’t for this company. You dont have to pay them, and surely can find out how to find the money without there services, but remember that without them, you would not have known.

  10. I think US Claims Services deserves its fee. They found the money and they found me. It is $2,713 I would never have known about otherwise. I earn very little. It is money from an old mortgage transaction. We are so thankful to have it now. We have no computers and speak little english. My neighbor is typing this for us.

  11. I also have to agree with Newman and Jose Hernandez. US Claims Services spent the money to track me down and I am thankful and even though I could have claimed it myself I paid them. They deserve it. I would not have known. When I called in they told me that “they don’t even try to track people down until the State has held it for at least a couple of years, they figure the people don’t know about the money or else they would have tracked it down themselves” To be honest, it is a little troubling to read this board to see SusieW trashing the company that attempted to make her aware of her lost money which unitl she received the letter probably went unclaimed for years. Clearly the service that they are providing is the tracking you down and making you aware of the money that has been sitting there for YEARS! Do you think that it doens’t cost them money to track you down??????? You don’t have to pay the people but you are doing a disservice to the very people that spent the time and money to track you down…….I think at the very least you owe them a thanks for the heads up!

  12. I am glad you posted this in your blog. What is missing from the US Claims Services letter is the link to the California State Controller’s Unclaimed Property Search site: http://www.sco.ca.gov/col/ucp/aboutucp.shtml

    I went there, entered our name, and found the same amount that US Claims Services reported.

    I feel like I owe them (US Claims) something for their help, but not the 10%.

  13. Thank you!! I used your links and found my claim easily.
    I was afraid the US Claims was a phishing scam, trying to get my personal info. Your blog came up with my google search. I can’t believe I actually do have unclaimed property waiting for me.

  14. You are Awesome! I received a letter from u.s. claims services out of California on November 6, 2008. They were asking for $43.95. Immediately I was put on my guard. I didn’t have to look long before finding this website, and I’m glad for your information. Thank you for your help here!

  15. Thanks Susie, for the site.
    Found it thru a google search thinking US Claims might be a phishing scam too.

    Glad to see they are just carving out a niche market, the American Way at work…
    Thanks for the heads-up US Claims. . .

    I have papers to fill out.

    Z

  16. It’s totally unfair for people to call US Claims a scam or a bunch of “crooks”. Of course, they are providing a service (for a fee, like any other good business) that you could find yourself with a bit of research, but how would you have known about the lost funds if not for them? I realized I could go direct to my State Treasurer but still paid the $19.95 for their effort. Why the unnecessary anger?

  17. How does this Company get its information? I have a clue on how it got mine. About 2 weeks I went looking for info on unclaimed property .
    I went on to Colorado’s website and found I had some property. A week later I get a letter from US claims service telling me I can have them process them for a modest $49.95. All they were going to do is send me the same info I had already printed out on my computer for free. No thanks.

  18. Inflation? I got a letter from this group and the fee is now $43.95. As it happens, I had looked into this several years ago and the funds do not exist.

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