I was contacted by RDS. Is this a scam?
RDS is a legitimate business registered in the state of Illinois (search for "Refund Discovery Specialists"). Our mission is to locate and recover unclaimed property on behalf of claimants (see "What is unclaimed property?"). At RDS, we will never ask you to pay us a fee for our services, ever. Rather, our fee and recovery costs come out of the amounts we recover, not from your pocket. In other words, we do not get paid until you get paid. We will not ask you for personal or credit card information, although in some instances we may be required to obtain a photocopy of your driver's license or other personal data to ensure a successful recovery of your funds (see "Do I have to pay taxes on the money you recover for me?" below). We encourage you to have your attorney, accountant or trusted advisor review our website as well as our contract. We are happy to speak with you or your advisors about your concerns, although at no time will we give professional legal or accounting advice.
RDS' owners consist of two Certified Public Accountants and an attorney, each of whom hold professional licenses from either the state of Illinois or the state of Missouri. Each owner is in good standing with his respective state and is bound by the ethical codes of his profession. Below are links you can use to easily verify our professional standings by searching for us by name:
Search Barry Jacobs, CPA - select "Certified Public Accountant" in the dropbox
Search Gerald Borden
Search Brandon Dahl, CPA - select "CPA License Holder" in the dropbox and click "Licensee Name" to search
Furthermore, RDS' owners are active members of the business community and are completely findable and reachable! Between the three owners we have over 550 business connections on LinkedIn. Please consider linking with us so that you may see who you know in common with us. Links to all of the owners' LinkedIn pages are below:
Barry Jacobs, CPA
Brandon Dahl, CPA
Our core value is to act in an ethical manner that is in the best interests of our clients and partners while taking what we consider to be a fair commission for our time, expertise, and services.
Is RDS a collection agency?
No, we are not a collection agency; in fact, we are quite the opposite. If we have contacted you, it's because we have located funds which we believe that you or your company are owed or may have a rightful claim to, not the other way around.
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property includes tangible and intangible property that has been abandoned or lost by its rightful owner for an extended period of time. Common examples of unclaimed property include uncashed checks and dividends, utility refunds, forgotten safe deposit boxes and checking and savings accounts, royalties, and more which are waiting to be discovered.
Agencies throughout the country take possession of unclaimed property belonging to individuals and businesses (also known as "claimants") for a variety of reasons. These agencies have a responsibility to locate claimants and return unclaimed property in a timely manner. However, if the claimants are not located or the funds are not claimed within legally determined periods of time, the same agencies charged with locating claimants stand to keep the money themselves through a process called escheatment. This creates a classic conflict of interest. As a result, millions of dollars escheat each year.
Click here to see a brief newscast of a local government in California escheating almost $160,000 of unclaimed property.
Where is this unclaimed money coming from? Who owes me money?
Each case is different, but all cases involve a claimant's money being held by a business or governmental agency. RDS is unable to disclose who we believe holds your funds until we receive a signed and notarized contract. RDS' investment in the claim is our knowledge of where funds are located and how to recover them. By the time you are contacted by RDS, we have spent considerable time, energy, and money identifying you and your unclaimed funds. Once hired, we will explain exactly where the funds are coming from and how we intend to recover them for you.
How much is this going to cost me?
Our fee varies based on the complexity and costs involved in recovering your claim. We will never charge you an upfront fee. All costs incurred to recover your claim are included in our fee or will be clearly stated to you before we commence collections. If we are unable to recover your funds, you owe us nothing. If we are successful in obtaining your claim, our fee will be deducted directly from the funds that we recover. Our fee will be disclosed to you before you sign the contract.
How long does this process take?
In order for us to maintain a strong and positive reputation, we work as quickly and efficiently as possible to deliver your funds in a timely fashion. Depending on the complexity of the case and the jurisdiction, the process could take several weeks to several months. As we are paid on a contingency basis, we have an additional incentive to recover your money as quickly as possible.
How can I be sure that I receive the money that I am entitled to?
The contract you sign with us is a safeguard for you as well as for RDS. We will keep you informed throughout the process, and may use a reputable, licensed attorney at no cost to you to manage the funds in trust.
Why should I hire RDS? Can't I do this stuff myself?
You may have seen billboards and television commercials advertising national or state unclaimed property websites such as www.missingmoney.com. We encourage you to search these websites as you may locate other unclaimed property to which you are entitled. However, it is unlikely that you will find the funds we have contacted you about on these sites. We specialize in funds that are difficult to locate and that are generally not easy to identify. When you use RDS, we do the work while you simply wait for us to recover your money and send you a check. Our experience in finding and claiming funds is an asset to you.
What happens to the money if I chose not to pursue it?
In most cases the money will escheat to the government. When that happens, you will no longer have a legal claim to recover the money.
Do you guarantee that you will be able to recover the funds for me? Do I owe you money if you cannot claim the funds?
While we will make every effort possible to recover your claim, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that we will be successful in recovering your funds. If we are not successful, you owe us nothing.
Do I have to pay taxes on the money you recover for me?
Certain circumstances may require us to issue you an IRS Form 1099 if we are successful in recovering funds on your behalf. In those scenarios, as required by the federal tax code, we will require you to fill out an IRS Form W-9 which includes your name, address, and social security number or federal identification number. While we do not give professional advice regarding legal or tax issues, we legally issue 1099's in such a manner as to give you the maximum tax benefit. Refund Discovery Specialists will take all precautions necessary to safeguard information provided on a W-9. We never sell or distribute information about our clients to third parties.
I was contacted by RDS but I don't believe that I am the person you intended to find or while I believe I am not the person you intended to contact, I do know how to get in touch with this person. What should I do?
If you believe we have contacted you in error or you do not want to be contacted by RDS in the future, please contact us and we will update our records. If you know where to find the claimant or the next of kin, please let us know so that we may contact that person. If you would like, please forward any of our correspondence directly to the claimant as well.
How much experience does RDS have?
RDS was formed in January 2012; however, we did not begin pursuing claims until July 2012. Since that time we have recovered or assisted in the recovery of over $500,000 and have more than $360,000 in claims pending.
We are a young company, but our team has extensive business experience in the fields of accounting, auditing, finance, and law. Additionally, we have relationships with other experienced professionals in this field.
Now what? How do we get started?
Please contact us so that we can walk you through the next steps. We will send you a general contract assigning RDS as your agent to collect the funds on your behalf. After you have reviewed the contract or had the contract reviewed by your attorney, we will send a mobile notary to you to notarize the contract as well as a separate agreement detailing the specific nature of your claim. Then sit back and let us do the work. We will keep you updated throughout the entire process.