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Oregon officials are warning consumers against responding to text messages offering access to lost or unclaimed funds held by the state of Oregon.

The Department of State Lands (DSL), which oversees the state’s Unclaimed Property Program, has seen a recent increase in reports of text messages urging people to follow links and claim sums of money. Individuals who receive these messages are advised to not click on website links contained in the messages, as they could be scams.

"We’ve seen messages that direct people to websites that are misleading and may be used to collect individuals’ personal or financial information," said Claudia Ciobanu, Trust Property Manager with DSL. "The best way to check for unclaimed property is directly through the Oregon Unclaimed Property website."

"I’d also be wary of any site that asks people to pay to claim funds,” Ciobanu added. “It is free to claim your money back from the state, and you can file a claim at any time on our website.”

The State of Oregon receives about $70 million every year in unclaimed assets, like forgotten checks, bank accounts, and security deposits from financial institutions and businesses. It currently holds $740 million in unclaimed property for owners or their heirs.

Those interested in checking whether they have unclaimed funds should visit the state’s Unclaimed Property website at unclaimed.oregon.gov and search for their name in the registry. The DSL recommends that anyone contacted by an organization offering access to Oregon unclaimed funds call the Unclaimed Property program at (503) 986-5200.

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