Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg is warning Nebraskans to be aware of a fake account on LinkedIn that was impersonating the State Treasurer and was used to contact individuals about unclaimed property.
“The fraudulent LinkedIn account came to our attention on Friday, and, as of Tuesday morning, has been taken down. The Nebraska State Patrol has been notified,” Treasurer Stenberg said Tuesday. The fake profile had 233 followers when the Treasurer’s Office became aware of it on Friday and was up to 350 followers on Monday before the account was removed.
“I want Nebraskans to know that this impersonator has been active on LinkedIn and through email, and I am urging Nebraskans to contact my office immediately if they have any concerns or suspicions about notifications they have received claiming to be from the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office,” Stenberg said.
The main Treasurer’s Office telephone number in the State Capitol is 402-471-2455. The main numbers for the Unclaimed Property Division are 402-471-8497 and 1-877-572-9688.
“We do not know how many people may have been contacted by this impersonator, but we have one record of a person in Houston, Texas, who was contacted by email. That person was told that he was heir to $12 million that a deceased client had deposited in a U.S. ‘Finance House in State of Nevada’ and that was ‘now lying DORMANT and UNCLAIMED,’” Stenberg said.
Stenberg said the email was long and awkwardly worded and that it contained poor grammar and confusing sentences.
The sender’s email address used in that communication was firstname.lastname@example.org. It was signed HON. DON STENBERG and was identified as the Treasurer’s private email. This email address is not associated with the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office. All Treasurer’s Office email accounts are on the nebraska.gov domain and end with @nebraska.gov. Treasurer’s Office staff members do not use personal email accounts to conduct state business.
The Treasurer’s Office staff notified LinkedIn immediately Friday when staff members became aware of the profile, which was under the name, Don Stanberg, and the title, Executive Director at National Association of Unclaimed Property (NAUP). Both the spelling of the name – one letter off - and the title were similar to the Treasurer’s name and a former title. Stenberg formerly served in a volunteer role as president of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), a network of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST).
The biography on the fake account profile was copied from Treasurer Stenberg’s biography on the Treasurer’s website, using the correct spelling of his name and his professional background.
The Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office uses a variety of means to contact owners of unclaimed property, including letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service, telephone calls, advertisements in state newspapers, and outreach events. The Treasurer’s Office also contacts individuals through Facebook, when other means are not successful, and corresponds through email after contacts have been established or after a person has submitted a claim online that may need follow up.
“If in doubt about a contact, we recommend people go to treasurer.nebraska.gov and type in their names to determine if the Nebraska Treasurer’s Office has unclaimed property for them,” Stenberg said.