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For Consumers About Investigators

Consumer protection agencies advise that legitimate businesses do not expect payment until the property is returned to the owner. Owners should be suspicious if an Investigator asks for money before the owner receives the property or if the fee is not based on a percentage of the value of the property to be returned to the owner. For more information about Fees Charged by Investigators

What Is An 'Investigator'?

Investigators' (sometimes referred to as Asset Locators or Heir Finders) are individuals or companies that offer to file claims for unclaimed property for the apparent owner or their heirs. It is against the law for Investigators to charge a fee greater than 10% of the value of the property that is returned to you. (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1582)

Investigators are not allowed to contract with a property owner to help the owner recover unclaimed property once a business has notified the State Controller’s Office that the property will be transferred to the state for safekeeping. A property owner may reactivate the account or recover the property free of charge from the business.

There are no fee restrictions for Investigators filing for owners or heirs of County Probated Estates.

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Can I File A Claim For My Property After I Have Signed A Contract With An Investigator?

An owner of property may file a claim for his/her property at any time. However, the contract is an agreement between you and the investigator and the investigator may have an enforceable right of payment from you for the amount specified in the contract.

If we receive a claim for property from both you and from the Investigator, your property will be returned to you, if we determine you are the rightful owner, unless we have already acted on the claim filed by the Investigator. Returning your property, does not mean that we have taken a position on the validity of the contract or whether the investigator has a right to a fee for any services rendered. That matter is between you and the Investigator.

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Is There A Fee To Process My Account Through An Investigator?

Yes. Investigators (sometimes referred to as Asset Locators or Heir Finders) can charge you a fee. It is against the law for investigators to charge a fee greater than 10% of the value of the property that is returned to you. (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1582).

Investigators are not allowed to contract with a property owner to help the owner recover unclaimed property once a business has notified the State Controller’s Office that the property will be transferred to the state for safekeeping. A property owner may reactivate the account or recover the property free of charge from the business.

You can claim your property for FREE directly from the California State Controller's Office Start your search now.

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