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Thread: ProSearch and Equiniti - are they genuine?

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    Top Contributor Dave McM is a Premium Member
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    ProSearch and Equiniti - are they genuine?

    I've just had an intriguing letter from a company called ProSearch, who claim that they've been appointed by "a major corporation" to locate someone in connection with "unclaimed entitlements".

    They cite my name (correctly, apart from the second capital M in my surname) and former address.

    They appear to be genuine - a quick bit of web research suggests that their parent company Equiniti is apparently the UK's largest share registration company and was part of Lloyds TSB a while back. But the letter looks so like the prelude to a junk mail bombardment (it's signed by a squiggle without a real name, for instance) that I hesitated to reply.

    I've tried searching for "ProSearch share scam", and come across a few stories where they've reunited shareholders with unclaimed dividends, but only at the cost of most of the dividends claimed. So they're not doing anything that's actually illegal, just indulging in a bit of legal sharp practice.

    Has anyone ever come across them before? At the moment I'm inclined to confirm my identity and see what happens next, unless anyone's had any experiences which suggest that would be a bad thing to do.

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    Clinton (29 April 2012)

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    If this is regarding shares and you know what you hold - this article in the Grauniad has details on how to check for yourself.

    I always find the MSE forums useful for checking out how any odd mail of this nature, and they do have a couple of threads on Prosearch...

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    Dave McM (29 April 2012)

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    I receive these types of offers in the US by email and snail mail. There are companies who make their money by finding if there is any money lost by others, and then take a percentage of what is found. Every state has an unclaimed and lost property office, most of which are now online. ...and there are sites like Missing Money

    The comptrollers work through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators which makes the practice of finding money for others less profitable, now that people can see for themselves if there are lost assets. The US government maintains Treasury Hunt for payments owed to individuals they cannot find. Between airlines with unclaimed baggage centers, banks with abandoned accounts, insurance refunds, misplaced pensions, etc., there's a lot of money waiting to be 'found'.

    UK sites similar to these are Unclaimed Assets Search and Experian's Unclaimed Assets Register

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclaimed.org
    There are many businesses, sometimes called finders or locators, which find legitimate lost property for owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain it for a fee
    <clip>
    The majority of firms that provide these services work within the law, but there are also many unclaimed property scams across the United States.

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    Clinton (29 April 2012), Dave McM (1 May 2012), Kay (1 May 2012)

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    Top Contributor Dave McM is a Premium Member
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    Thanks, both. As far as I'm aware, I've only got shares in one company anyway as a result of my life insurance provider de-mutualising. I'll confirm to ProSearch that I am indeed me, as that doesn't commit me to anything further, and see what they have to say.

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    Top Contributor Dave McM is a Premium Member
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    Well, I got a reply. But it was only to say that because I'm in a country with financial restrictions imposed by the UK and US governments, they can't do anything more and I'll have to contact Equiniti direct. They've given me an 0871 phone number (is that a premium code?) and a snail mail address, but not an email address.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    They've given me an 0871 phone number (is that a premium code?)
    Could be, or it might just charge "local rate" in UK. Whatever, not cheap from outside UK.

    From what you've said, these people watch for unclaimed dividends, then get in touch when it its worth their while - when the dividend will pay their fees and leave a few bob for the claimant. They appear to be relying on the fact that people will not chase them if they are not left out of pocket.

    Since you have a good idea where the dividend is from, I'd look for a cheaper way to lay hands on your money, in your place.

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