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Ownerless Goods Ripoff Scam

By Odesi Desko

The English term bona vacantia refers to property that no longer has an owner, and is taken over by royalty. Various countries use different names for this procedure. There’s no official name for this in America; it just consists of land that is unclaimed and, as a result, goes to the government. If everyone is unaware of it, however, you can recover it.

Unclaimed property can consist of bank accounts, property, company assets, or any other item of value. Many times a person passes on without a will or designation of where the items are to go. These funds and/or properties are held for an indefinite amount of time by the departments responsible for them until claimed by an heir or the original owner if it was abandoned.

This possibility of being the heir to unclaimed property or having unknown money floating in governmental coffers has opened a wide field for scam artists. Everyone hopes that some deceased relative has left money or property that will make them rich simply by answering a letter or e-mail. Dishonest people take advantage of this desire to scam people out of their money.

Availability of Bona vacantia, or unclaimed funds, is usually advertised on the Internet or by other means stating that there are unclaimed funds and one should apply, giving their name and other personal information so that a check can be made to see if they are on the list. Sometimes various family names will also be requested.

If there is a match the person applying is contacted and further information is required. This is all done by correspondence and no agent will be contacting the applicant. A person aware of this information will not be taken in by a scam.

The Bona vacantia, or unclaimed funds, scammer selects names at random from telephone books, e-mail spyware, or anywhere the person’s name is published. The victim is then contacted by e-mail or letter and told they are heir to money that has been unclaimed. This correspondence is designed to look very official and authentic.

Once a victim sends a response, they often get a phone call from the scammer, informing them of fees that they have to pay in order to collect. For the most part, this money gets paid to the con artists, and the victim never receives any of the money they were led to believe they would. As a result, you have to consult or other such telephone look-up services in order to find out just how valid the caller is, and whether or not they’re legitimate.

Scammers are especially happy when the victim sends a personal check. This allows them access to the bank account number, the required signature, complete address, and other information. A large number of identity theft cases come about because of this action. Under no circumstances should a person respond to this type of correspondence but, if interested, should contact the proper governmental agency via the Internet or by letter.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Desko, Odesi "Ownerless Goods Ripoff Scam." Ownerless Goods Ripoff Scam. 30 Jun. 2010. 21 Jan 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Desko, O (2010, June 30). Ownerless Goods Ripoff Scam. Retrieved January 21, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Desko, Odesi "Ownerless Goods Ripoff Scam"

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