SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) A scammer picked the wrong person to send a text to: Francine Giani, Director of the Utah Department of Commerce and the state’s top watchdog for consumer protection.

The text told Francine that she could collect some ‘UNCLAIMED FUNDS’ if she would send her last name to an email address. It was from a guy called George. He didn’t even know her last name. How could he know she had some money coming?

“I know some Georges, but this is not a buddy of mine,” says Giani with a smile on her face. Her investigators have traced the text and the email to England, probably not a place where she is owed some unclaimed money.

“This is a ploy for George or whoever to know that there’s a live person on the other end of that text.” Giani believes if she would have responded, the person would have tried to charge her a fee with a promise of returning some of her “unclaimed” money, or would have tried to extract some personal information.

She concludes “we believe this is a trick to try to get people into a scam.”

There is a place you can go to see if you have some unclaimed money or property. It is safe, secure, FREE, and it is totally legitimate.  mycash.utah.gov

The Unclaimed Property Division is part of the Utah State Treasurer’s Office. “They can come directly to our website and not be required to spend any money,” says division administrator Dennis Johnston.

He has the ‘fun’ job of getting people connected with money they have coming. He says 1 of every 5 Utahns has some money they don’t know about. “Those are much better odds than the lottery,” he points out.

You simply go to the site and type in your name. If you do have money coming the site will ask for more specific information to make sure you are who you say you are.

How do we know the site is safe and secure? “A dot gov website is your clue,” says Johnston. “Because not everybody  can get a dot gov website. Only legitimate sites can do that. My site is secure, totally secure.”

The numbers are astounding. The state is holding $375 million that should be going to someone. In one year alone 30,000 Utahns got a total of $22 million by going to that site. What do you have to lose by simply checking it out?

As for that text from George, Francine Giani says “if you get a text like this one, make sure that you don’t respond.”

Unfortunately scams like this hit the people who are most vulnerable. Giani laments that “many scams do target those who can least afford to get involved in stuff like this. That would be those who could be struggling financially or our seniors who are on fixed incomes.”

Here’s the link to the legitimate site: https://mycash.utah.gov/UP_Start.asp.