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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Finders seek profit from unclaimed treasure

Thursday, May 19, 2005

While Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter is working to help Hoosiers claim lost or forgotten money free of charge, others are hoping to make a profit from that same effort.

Professional finders may send postcards or letters to citizens claiming they can help secure these unclaimed properties, but in reality, people can do a little digging and unearth forgotten treasures themselves.

These ploys, which can actually be helpful to those who simply prefer not to search databases themselves, are part of why Carter is publicizing the state's unclaimed funds Web site, www.indianaunclaimed.com, said Staci Schneider, Attorney Gen. Steve Carter's press secretary. The Web site explains what finders do, and how Indiana residents can find answers to their questions about types of unclaimed property. It even connects seekers to national unclaimed funds Web sites, which link to unclaimed funds sites in most states.

"There are some parameters finders have to work under," Schneider said. "A finder can only charge a 10 percent fee in the state of Indiana."

While many states, including Indiana, run legal advertisements in newspapers about unclaimed property, which consists of a variety of accounts, not physical land, old information does not run again. The unclaimed property database is in a constant state of flux, which is why Carter says residents must regularly check the Web site.

While the number of claimed properties has increased, so has the number of properties being turned over to the Un-claimed Properties Division of the Attorney General's Office.

"There's a lot of money the public isn't getting and we want them to be aware of that," Carter said.

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