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Unclaimed property inserts in newspapers spark interest

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer John Perdue’s Unclaimed Property Division wrapped up its most recent newspaper advertising insert campaign Friday, sparking a large uptick in both those requesting phone assistance and those choosing to file claims electronically.

The division also made plans to hold another online auction of items left behind in safe deposit boxes or items seized in law enforcement arrests. The most recent auction began Wednesday, Oct. 8 and will run until Oct. 23.

To search for unclaimed property or to place auction bids, go to Icons for both services are prominent on the front page.

Unclaimed property newspaper inserts, meanwhile, ran from Sept. 26 until Friday, Oct. 10, distributed in the largest newspaper in each county. Some copies were also direct mailed.

“We had a good response to our ad,” said Unclaimed Property Deputy Treasurer Carolyn Atkinson. “Our claims staff was busy with calls but we were able to keep up. I’m always glad to be able to see an increase in claims, which means we can give more money back to rightful owners.”

From Aug. 26 to Sept. 25, the volume of phone calls ran anywhere from 76 to 131 each day. On the day the first insert appeared the number shot to 170. The office then saw an increase to an average of 237 times a day the week of Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. Calls averaged 229 a day from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9. Figures were not available for Oct. 10.

Increased activity could also be seen in the e-claims program. Electronic claims – those filed online with scanned identifying documents attached – also shot up during the insert period. From Aug. 31 to Sept. 20, residents filed 410 e-claims.  By contrast, from Sept. 21 to Oct. 10, residents filed 706 e-claims, spurred by the inserts.

“It’s not surprising that the inserts were once again effective, but I’m especially pleased that residents are choosing to do business with our office electronically,” said State Treasurer John Perdue. “Improving our technology processes, and hence making life easier for state residents, has always been a hallmark of my administration. Our online auctions are another great example of that.”

The current online auction features unusual jewelry. Two gold necklaces have drawn interest, with one carrying a current bid of $950.


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