Citi unclaimed property letter – scam or no?

So I got a letter addressed to my father today that appears to be from Citi. It says that they have some unclaimed funds in my father’s name. The letter states that if there is no response by the end of August, the unclaimed funds will go to our state’s unclaimed funds department.

My father died in 2014, so I am trying to figure out if this letter is legit or not.
I’ve looked all over the Internet and haven’t come up with much either way. I’m not able to find the exact address that’s printed on the letter, though Citibank NA does have addresses and PO boxes in the same range as the address on the letter. The email address listed in the letter ends in citi.com.

I called the phone number on the letter and got a recording saying it’s taking them 3 to 5 days to respond to questions and to leave your name and the ID code on the letter for a callback.

The letter requests no personal info on the claim form – just address, phone and signature. The claim form must also must be notarized. This is the one thing that makes me think it could be legit, since why would they want someone to do that if it weren’t?

On the other hand, in the FAQs that came in the letter, if the actual owner is deceased, they request a death certificate to be included along with any paperwork (a will, etc.) that would prove that I am the heir. Death certificates have SSNs on them, so they’d get that.

Of course I could just wait and see if the funds actually get turned over to the state. There’s actually a small amount of money already there in his name, and I had to file a claim with the state he lived in for another small amount a couple of years ago. Therefore, it’s perfectly possible this cash is his too – though for the life of me I can’t think of what it might be, and I know the source of the other two.

Thoughts?

It sounds legit. Like you said, if you’re not sure, just wait it out and let it get transferred to the state.

It’s usually safer for you to lookup the number yourself on their website rather than call the number in the letter. Or google the number and see if it’s really theirs. If it’s a scam, then that could be the scammer’s phone number.

I tried this and couldn’t find it, nor could I find it on any Citi webpage, which is what is making me hesitate. But Citi is also a huge company and this info may not be on any public-facing web page.

Contact Citi directly, either by phone or going down to a local branch, give them the info you received, and ask how to proceed from there.

There aren’t any branches near me, so that’s out. What phone number to call? I can try calling their customer service number, but I suspect they’re not going to know anything about this, as they exist to help people with their credit or bank accounts.

In further looking around, I did find an old WaPo article about Citi returning money to people for debt protection and credit monitoring services they didn’t need or didn’t know they were paying for. If this letter is legit, I bet that’s the source of the money. When I took over my parents’ finances, I closed a couple of Citi credit card accounts and fees for those things were on at least one of them.

You can guess at how they may respond, or you can find out easily enough by calling them. It is not like they charge for the call.

I just tried and there’s no way to get through the bot - what I need info on isn’t included in their categories and I have no account numbers I can punch in. It ended up hanging up on me.

Let it go to the state, then contact the Unclaimed Property Department there. I’ve done that with several different amounts that were either something I never claimed, or that was owed to my parents. I’ve found that the state is usually a lot easier to deal with.

Hard to say if it’s legit Id be cautiously optimistic it is because they’re trying to give back money. The leave a message instructions might concern me but its not a call center most likely, small office maybe 1 person working through it all. Could be an intern! Lol idk.

I’d call the number on the letter and wait for a callback.

I wouldn’t bother with customer service call centers. Unless you have time to kill.

ETA: and I see they don’t divert the call to an agent for random inquiries.

I think I’ll try taking it to my own bank. Since it needs to be notarized, the notaries there may have seen a letter like this before. If not, then I’ll probably just wait to see if the state gets it.

How much is it likely to be?

Anyway waiting for something you weren’t expecting in the first place is no problem.

It’s enough that I feel motivated to do something about it! But yes, unexpected so if it works out it’ll be a nice little surprise bonus.

Call Citi back, pick one of the wrong choices that will give you a live person, and have them transfer you to the right person.

Why do they want a claim form notarized without personal info on it, and not the other paperwork they require? If it’s not a huge amount of money I’d wait for the state to pick it up. They can’t fix the roads around here but their unclaimed property system works just fine.

Tried that too - the rep had me read the letter to her and then give her my dad’s SSN. That didn’t come up with anything. She did not know if the letter was legit or not and I no longer have any account numbers from my dad’s accounts - they would have been closed back in 2010 or so. Not worth spending any more time on. I can wait.

I’m surprised no one else has mentioned getting anything like this themselves.

The letter says if the unclaimed property is over a certain dollar amount, notarization is required. Maybe some sort of legal requirement then?

Don’t know. But doesn’t seem to make it more likely to be legit if the amount is high enough. Notaries don’t charge much but even if it’s $10 that would rule out a scam for small amounts. I just wonder why they ask for it, I’d be surprised if they ever checked that it was legitimate…

My wife and I have both found unclaimed funds when the state reports them. They must have found your address somehow, my wife was executor of her mother and aunt’s estates, the credit card ghouls found her, so the bank must be able to do it also, but we’ve never been contacted directly like that for money owed us.

I’ve dealt with a lot of unclaimed property both with financial institutions and with the state when they take custody of it. While this could be a scam, nothing you have said sets off my warning bells–dealing with unclaimed property like this is almost always a huge hassle. Frankly I’ve found the State process to be a hassle as well, it usually requires a lot of onerous verification and other paperwork–I’ve simply abandoned some relatively small amounts (under $100) before just to avoid messing with the process. It would be entirely in line with my experiences for a big bank like Citi to have a borderline non-existent or terrible system for dealing with this kind of property. And because it doesn’t link in to the main meat of what they do (loans, bank accounts and credit cards), most of their customer support infrastructure won’t be setup for it.

Yes. When I put the claim into Ohio for my dad’s money there, I had to send them their claim form, an original copy of my dad’s death certificate, his obituary and a copy of the last document I had from the probate court showing that the last assets had been disbursed to me and the estate closed. At least they sent the death certificate back - original copies of those are expensive these days.

If the money is from the settlement I found out about in the WaPo article I mentioned above, they probably aren’t in a hurry to return it either.