Do's and Don'ts of Hiring a Researcher
- Don't send upfront money
- Read & Understand the contract
Get attorney assistance if you think the expense is justified
- Don't sign right away
The money isn't going anywhere and other companies may write you with same/similar offers - Review them all, then work your best deal
- Negotiate a lower fee
The info that finder has researched is worthless without your participation. Finder's proposal is just that - a proposal and is negotiable.
- Ensure contract language stating length of time Finder can hold reclaimed funds
otherwise: Finder might hold funds for months after receipt of replacement funds.
- Ensure contract language that allows exit if you can show knowledge of funds
(letter to holder)
- Don't sign Power of Attorney (POA) up front
(if you decide to sign the contract). Verify that contract does not have POA language embedded in it.
- Don't give out SSN up front; only if you empower Finder to do claim
- Verify the funds independent of Finder
Once you receive funds details (after signing contract) you may not want to accept the obligation the funds represent
(before signing: ensure signing contract does not oblige you to claim funds).
- Know how to get in touch with the Holder
(on POA claim) so that you can verify status of Finder claim should claim take too long (over 90 days).
- Have option to do your own claim (no POA this way)
- Beware of signing dual contracts - some finders give exact amount in proposal; others, only general amount - easy to sign two agreements; result - two fees
- Honor thy Contract
Don't try to go around the Finder; pay them for your use of their
information (if you do your own claim).
Funds may NOT end up on an Abandoned Property listing (like what Tulsa World prints)
Industry isn't regulated
There are fee caps in some states (example: 25% in Okla.)
Contract fee in excess of applicable law may void contract.
Look first on your own. The free web site, MissingMoney.com is a good
Remember, until you received the first letter or phone call, you did not know
about this opportunity. The Finder (if legitimate) has in fact really
developed info on funds listed in the payee name. However, if the Finder
does not have a last known address to verify with you, then the payee may or
may not be you, depending on the uniqueness (is that a real word?) of your
name (middle initial, etc.) - meaning you may get into a contract with a
Finder company who is just trying to find the owner of the funds through
process of elimination... which goes back to the point of verifying with
holder the validity of Finder's research and your actual entitlement to the
listed funds prior to starting a claim.