LITTLE ROCK - Several weeks ago, the BBB warned consumers of a company in South Arkansas called Liberty Enterprises (also known as C & C Enterprises) that was collecting a $20 fee to search for unclaimed money that might be owed to individuals. The BBB reminded the public at that time that the Arkansas Auditor's Office provides such services for free. C & C Enterprises is now also operating in Pine Bluff and continues to collect $20 from each individual asking them to search for any unclaimed funds they may have. The contract Eudory Curry (owner of C & C) asks her clients to sign indicates that the fee is nonrefundable and that there are no promises of actually finding money.
The BBB discovered today that Ms. Curry and her company are using a highly suspect website to conduct the search for unclaimed funds in the clients' names. "Today we discovered that the website Ms. Curry appears to be using will always return search results showing the site has found money regardless of what name you type on the form - and the amount always seem to be in excess of $100,000", said Janet J. Robb, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. The concern, says Robb, is that individuals may believe they will actually receive these large amounts and then be willing to pay someone like C & C Enterprises (in addition to the initial fee paid) up to 10% of the total BEFORE the funds are actually received.
According to Arkansas State Auditor Jim Wood, anyone approached by a company offering such a service should first confirm the legitimacy of their claim directly with the Auditor's office. The State Auditor provides this service for free. The Auditor for the State of Arkansas is required by law to make an accounting each year of property that is being held on behalf of consumers. The information is then made available to the public FREE of charge through their office at http://www.auditorjimwood.org .
The names of the owners of unclaimed property are also published by the Auditor's office in October of each year in newspapers statewide and on AETN television. Consumers without Internet access may also get information by writing to: Auditor, State of Arkansas, Unclaimed Property Division, Auditor of State Jim Wood, PO Box 251906, Little Rock, AR 72225-1906 or by calling 1-800-CLAIM-IT. The Better Business Bureau and the State Auditor's office warn that individuals may be led to believe they cannot find such funds without paying a fee to a company such as Liberty Enterprises or that someone will pay a percentage of funds allegedly "found" by a website such as the one Ms. Curry is using.
The BBB also cautions that individuals are asked to provide three forms of identification to Liberty Enterprises when they pay the initial $20 search fee. "With issues involving identity theft at an all time high, we strongly urge individuals to be aware of the danger in releasing such information to a company such as this", said Robb. "The company has only been in business for a few months, and it has no track record in the marketplace indicating whether the company will properly protect customers' personal information. Nor does this company have an established record of actually locating and delivering to its clients any unclaimed funds supposedly found.