Better Call Behnken: Warning about unclaimed money sites charging for free information

Tampa Bay residents have $260 million in unclaimed money (Image 1)
Tampa Bay residents have $260 million in unclaimed money (Image 1)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Carol Bugh stumbled across a website that claimed it could reunite her with lost treasure. But when she called to find out more, there was a suspicious catch. “They tell me I have to pay, for a membership fee, for unclaimed money?”‘ Bugh asked.

“They tell me I have to pay, for a membership fee, for unclaimed money?”‘ Bugh asked.

The site Bugh found, www.unclaimedmoneydb.com, even offers a monthly or yearly membership — for a price of $29.95 and $39.95, respectively.For Bugh, she was led to believe her late mother, Helen Barbara Fuessel, had unclaimed money held by the state of Florida and that Bugh could collect, but first, she said she was told to pay a fee of about $5.

For Bugh, she was led to believe her late mother, Helen Barbara Fuessel, had unclaimed money held by the state of Florida and that Bugh could collect, but first, she said she was told to pay a fee of about $5.

Bugh said she wanted to believe it because the company had her mother’s information, such as a previous address. But instead of forking over money, Bugh decided to call 8 On Your Side’s Better Call Behnken. We found many sites like this one, charging for something state officials do – for free.

The website run by the office of Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater is www.fltreasurehunt.org. 8 On Your Side showed Bugh how to look up her mother’s information herself but, unfortunately, there was no money to find. It’s not good news for Bugh, but at least she didn’t have to pay to find out.

State officials do have millions to turn over, though. Our recent Better Call Behnken Unclaimed Cash phone banks helped viewers reconnect with $2.3 million dollars.

“We had a $20,000 claim out of Polk County,” said Joel Brown, of CFO Jeff Atwater’s Office. “We had $19,000 up in the Temple Terrace area.”

As for Bugh, she’s happy to know the truth about her mother’s unclaimed cash, and she wants to prevent others from paying for what should be yours for free.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s