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Missouri Treasurer Warns of Email Scam

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/missouritr_5496.mp3

This week the Missouri Treasurer’s office learned of an email scam whereby an individual or group attempted to lure personal information and money from email recipients. KSMU’s Theresa Carter spoke with the state treasurer and files this report.

The treasurer’s office says it became aware that someone was sending fraudulent emails stating that they were from the Unclaimed Property Division of Missouri. Clint Zweifel, Missouri State treasurer, says that his office does not send unsolicited emails, and that Missourians should be wary of emails asking for personal information or money. Officials say they are not aware of anyone who has fallen for the trick. Zweifel explains that his office is taking steps to counteract the attempted scam.

"What we did was quickly review our office, notifiy Missouri Highway Patrol, work with Office of Administration, notifiy Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and also the Federal Trade Commission, so that we could protect Missouri taxpayers."

Currently Missouri has more than $550 million in unclaimed assets in more than three million owner accounts and safe deposit boxes. According to Zweifel’s website, it’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 Missourians could have assets held by the Unclaimed Property Division. Zweifel says one good thing to come of this incident is the awareness of the do’s and don’ts about unclaimed property.

"It is important for Missourians to know that they should never pay for their unclaimed property! We have a service that works with Missourians to return their unclaimed property. It is a way to ensure we get that money back into the hands of Missourians during a critical time, while protecting their identity and not costing them anything."

Zweifel said that he does not want to see anyone fall prey to this scam, and that any questionable emails should be reported. For a link to more information about unclaimed property or reporting a fraudulent email, or you can call Treasurer Zweifel's office at (573) 751-0123. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Carter.