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Canada

How to track down forgotten funds, protect yourself from scams: BC Unclaimed Property Society

The B.C. non-profit group tasked with tracking down the rightful owners of forgotten cash says it is seeing more fraudulent behaviour online and the scams are getting more sophisticated.

“The scams get better,” said Alena Levitz, executive director of the BC Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS). “They look more realistic and they are much easier at fooling people.”

Currently, more than $160 million is waiting to be claimed in B.C. The money comes from many places, including forgotten credit union accounts, forgotten wages, life insurance policies, and even abandoned pension accounts.

“We are like a lost and found for money,” Levitz said.

READ MORE: More than $140M belonging to B.C. residents sits unclaimed at Property Society

The BCUPS says scammers are known to copy letterhead and fool victims by claiming they can reunite them with unclaimed funds for a fee. The BCUPS says it doesn’t use third parties and will never ask for personal banking information before verifying a claim.

Also, they will never ask or charge a fee to search or claim forgotten funds.

The society says people should be wary of anyone who contacts them with urgent emails stating, “Please contact us immediately about your account” or “Immediate attention required.”

READ MORE: How to check if you have unclaimed money in a Canadian bank

Levitz said there is no time limit to claim forgotten funds.

“Claims with the BC Unclaimed Property Society never expire,” Levitz said. “They are available forever. We actually have claims going back to the 1800s.”

Levitz advises people to go directly to the society’s website.

Since its inception, the BCUPS has reunited owners with more than $16 million in unclaimed funds.

WATCH: (April 3, 2017) Unclaimed money in B.C.

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