This is the postcard we received over the weekend. On the back is information about the State Controller’s Office, and how they are holding over NINE BILLION DOLLARS in unclaimed property (that includes money).
I checked the website and found about $27 in my name! I filled out the forms, printed them, signed them, made copies of my ID, and mailed it all off this morning. In 120 short days (or so, per the website), I should get my money.
It’s free to search, free to claim your property, so it is 100% worth 5-10 minutes to see if you’ve got anything waiting for you!
“Twice a year, millions of California residents receive a credit on their utility bill identified as the “California Climate Credit.” The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas distributors and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits. The credit represents residential utility ratepayers’ share of the payments from the State’s program. The credit program was created by the CPUC, which also oversees the program’s implementation.
Currently, all residential and eligible small business electricity customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities receive the credit, as do all Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) customers. In addition, natural gas residential customers of PG&E, SoCalGas, Southwest Gas, and SDG&E also receive the credit. Customers don’t need to do anything to receive the credit – it is automatically applied to their bills. The credit amounts vary among utilities, CCAs and from year to year.
If you’re not sure whether you’re receiving the Climate Credit, the first thing to do is contact your utility or CCA, the same as you would do with any billing questions. That’s because although the CPUC oversees the credit and can help with any remaining questions you have, your utility or CCA is best positioned to access your individual records and answer questions about individual accounts.”
In addition to this credit, we also use the TIME OF USE billing to our advantage. Here is an article I wrote about last summer with some tips about how to save on your utility bill. Time of Use billing isn’t for everyone, but we use it as I am able to do the bulk of our energy using chores during off-peak hours, such as dishes and laundry.
And one thing that I find super helpful- We signed up for Ohm Connect a few years ago and it texts and/or emails you when you should conserve more power due to the demand on the power grid. It’s a win-win situation: You save money on your power bill, and you earn points from Ohm Connect that you can cash out for Paypal, Amazon or Target Gift Cards, OhmConnect store credit (to buy energy-efficient thermostats, smart plugs, etc.) You can learn more about OhmConnect here. When you sign up here and link your utility account, you’ll earn $10 in rewards! We’ve earned over $50 in 2019 so far!
**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.
Wednesday I opened our mailbox to discover a flat rate envelope addressed to me. Now, as a blogger, it isn’t uncommon to receive stuff in the mail. Tickets/comps to shows and events, samples, products to review, and even checks when I get paid for writing. Most of the time, these days, PR firms pay via Venmo, Paypal or EFT/Wire Transfer. I wasn’t expecting anything.
Something about this was… weird. Different. I didn’t recognize the name on the return address. The Envelope was light. I opened it and found this letter and check:
Oh, so many things went through my head as I read this letter.
OMG- So many fonts! That by itself SCREAMS SCAM! Also- That’s not what the USPS Logo looks like. The one on the letter is all stretched out and pixelated.
I never signed up to audit/secret shop the US Postal Service. That’s not even something that is done by an outside party/company (I called the local post office at talked to someone- They straight up told me it was a scam.).
When a letter is not on company letterhead with an office address, phone number, email address, and website- It’s a scam.
When you are given a task to do and you are told to DEPOSIT A CHECK INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT- It’s a scam. Real, honest, legit secret shopping companies do not tell you to do that. They don’t front you the money. They reimburse you. And also- $2000 in untraceable money orders? IT’S A SCAM.
When I called the “text only numbers” there was no answer at either one.
Speaking of the phone numbers… Area codes 646 and 914 are both in New York state, but the return address on the priority envelope I received was from Pahrump, NV. SCAM.
The RE: line on my “check” says Cherie Miller, but I have no idea who that is. She’s not the person who sent me the check, and that name doesn’t appear on any of the paperwork. SCAM
After I read the letter and looked over the check, I went into full investigation mode. Back when I worked in property management, one of my favorite parts of the job was to search for people who owed various clients (HOA’s) money. Finding people to get them to pay delinquent accounts involves a high degree of “google-Fu”, which I pride myself on.
VyStar Credit Union is a for really real Credit Union in Florida. I called their customer service number and talked to a cool rep. I explained what I had, gave her the routing number and account number. Now, the routing number on this check does not match the routing number on their website. Some banks and financial institutions list their routing numbers on their websites to assist customers. The Customer Service confirmed: THE CHECK WAS NOT REA, NOR WAS IT DRAWN ONA REAL ACCOUNT. Meaning, if I had deposited it, the check would bounce like a rubber ball. I would be hit with fees, and be responsible for paying my bank back the amount the check was written for.
At this point, I wasn’t really sure what to do. Call the DA? Call the FBI (It is mail fraud and came from out of state)? Call the local Post office (which I later did and they didn’t care)? I asked my mom, and she suggested I call Consumer Bob (he’s a local media figure, I messaged him on Facebook but never heard back). I called the DA and spoke to a Legal Secretary. She said to mail it to them and they’d put it in their fraud file. She said not to bother the FBI.
So why am I writing about this today? Because if I get one of these letters, many other people will too. People who need money, people who want to do secret shops/audits to make a little extra money. Not everyone will think with a clear or level head. They’ll take the check to the bank and deposit it ASAP without doing any research.
So I’m going to repeat myself: Real, honest, legit secret shopping companies do not tell you to do that. They don’t front you the money. They reimburse you after you turn your report and receipts in.
If you want to learn a little more about other types of scams that I’ve come across, here is a good article. And if you are looking for a way to make a little extra money doing secret shops or audits, check out my post here about Field Agent. Field Agent is legit. I earn money with them every week doing small audits and shops. We got free pizza last week at Little Caesar’s and earned a little extra money too!
What did I end up doing with the letter, check, and envelope? It’s going to the DA next week.
Please share this post with your friends and family, especially if you have older family members who may not have great internet searching skills, or may need to earn some money. This scam can devastate an individual or family’s financial situation.