Notification of Unclaimed Property – oDesk Will Take Your Money and Give to State of California

I just received this email from oDesk which claims that if I don’t login into account and keep it active they will transfer any fund in the account to California State Controller’s Office (SCO). See the full content of email below. At first it looked like a fraud/spam email. I carefully checked the email domains, link domains etc and found it to be legit. Then I contacted their customer support via chat and verified the email which turned out to be legit.

This is first time that I’ve ever received such emails. A Google search for such email doesn’t throw up any relevant result so I’ve no clue if there is really such a law which allows any online businesses to take money from any (overseas) customers and give to Govt.?

It’s simple unbelievable that such law exist in the state of California which applies to online businesses.

I hope someone from other side of Atlantic will be able to clarify the law and out things straight.

oDesk Notification of Unclaimed Property

oDesk Email – Notification of Unclaimed Property

Full Email Content

From: odesk@workhappy.odesk.com

Subject: Notification of Unclaimed Property

Dear Ajay,

We’re writing to provide some important information about funds in your oDesk account.

California Unclaimed Property Law requires oDesk to transfer funds from your account to the California State Controller’s Office (SCO) if the account has been inactive for three years. According to our records, there has been no customer activity on your account for more than two years. Therefore, your property is in danger of escheating to the State of California if you do not timely respond to this notice.

If your account is transferred to the SCO, you will be required to submit a claim to the SCO in accordance with the provisions of the California Code of Civil Procedure in order to recover it. To avoid this hassle, just sign into your account. At that time, we encourage you to do one of the following:

1. Update your profile and use oDesk again. Just by logging in, you are showing an interest in your account and we’ll continue to maintain it on your behalf.

2. Withdraw your balance. To do so, simply initiate a withdrawal request using your preferred method.

If you have any questions, our support team is happy to give you a hand.

We appreciate your prompt action on this.

Sincerely,
Servaes Tholen
Chief Financial Officer

And here is the full text of Online Chat with oDesk customer support

Kate: Hello, Ajay Singh. Can I help you with anything today?
Ajay Singh: “Notification of Unclaimed Property” email. Is that spam or legit?
Ajay Singh: Dear Ajay, We’re writing to provide some important information about funds in your oDesk account. California Unclaimed Property Law requires oDesk to transfer funds from your account to the California State Controller’s Office (SCO) if the account has been inactive for three years. According to our records, there has been no customer activity on your account for more than two years. Therefore, your property is in danger of escheating to the State of California if you do not timely respond to this notice. If your account is transferred to the SCO, you will be required to submit a claim to the SCO in accordance with the provisions of the California Code of Civil Procedure in order to recover it. To avoid this hassle, just sign into your account. At that time, we encourage you to do one of the following: 1. Update your profile and use oDesk again. Just by logging in, you are showing an interest in your account and we’ll continue to maintain it on your behalf. 2. Withdraw your balance. To do so, simply initiate a withdrawal request using your preferred method. If you have any questions, our support team is happy to give you a hand. We appreciate your prompt action on this. Sincerely, Servaes Tholen Chief Financial Officer P.S. If you have forgotten your login credentials, you can reset your password here. Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy | Contact support 441 Logue Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043 © 2014 oDesk
Ajay Singh: still there?
Kate: Yes sir. Please hold on as I refer this issue to our specialist.
Kate: We are looking into this right now.
Kate: Thank you for waiting patiently.
Kate: The email that you received was part of our notification drive to prevent account escheatment.
Kate: We are required by California law to transfer funds from an account to the State Controller’s Office if an account is abandoned (no activity) for over 3 years.
Kate: So if you have funds in your account, these will be sent to the State Controller’s if no activity is detected.
Kate: In your case, since your account is active and no funds are in your balance, you may disregard this message.
Kate: I am sorry if it has cause you any concern.
Ajay Singh: Yes it did. I’m hearing it first time and google search doesn’t show anything relevant for websites. Are you sure this law is applicable to online businesses?
Kate: Yes it is applicable for online businesses. This is a new update to the oDesk process and we are sending these messages to affected users. Some may have been sent to users who do not fit the criteria, such as yourself, so I apologize for the trouble.
Kate: As an added info, one can prevent escheatment by simply logging into the account or withdrawing any funds from it so we don’t have to submit them to the government, as we are also not allowed to keep the money.
Kate: I hope this information helped. Can I assist you with anything else?
Ajay Singh: Helped? Either you are screwing around or world is screwed. It’s our money no one can take it away from us, screw California law. Do you have a link to state govt’s website where I can read more about this law?
Ajay Singh: I’m neither American nor based in America. How the hell you can take money from overseas customers and give to state govt. ?
Kate: In case your funds are submitted to the SCO (State Controller’s Office) due to escheatment, you may still claim them from the SCO, but that is a complicated process which we have outlined in the message that was sent. Unfortunately we do not have a specific link that we can share regarding the legal stipulations of this law. You may try to search for keywords “california escheatment” in your search engine for more information.
Kate: In order to avoid this, you must not keep funds in your oDesk account for an extended amount of time. 3 years is too long to keep funds in the account, let alone leave the account without any activity.
Kate: Will there be anyting else sir?
Ajay Singh: You are so screwed, It’s going viral now. Good luck!

Comments

6 Responses to “ Notification of Unclaimed Property – oDesk Will Take Your Money and Give to State of California ”
  1. Melwin

    Looks like state of California is bankrupt and wants to rob non-Americans.

  2. Dennis

    Never heard of such law. Even if there is such law I doubt it will affect online businesses. But you never know. As the saying goes “The Law is an Ass”. You better close account on oDesk looks like a fraud business to me. What do they do?

  3. Josh

    Mate! This is indeed a law in the State of California. You can find more details here http://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_faq_about_q01.html
    Law looks good to me, it prohibits businesses pocketing customer’s money. I’m not sure if such law is applicable to a website like oDesk? I’ve also never heard of it. If this is true we have to be careful about all websites which operate from California which will include Apple and loads of other businesses.

    • Ajay

      Tx Josh. I also just found this page.

  4. Melissa

    Should I be worried? I’m sure I’ll have inactive accounts on websites which are based in California.

  5. Andy

    Dude just login into account as email says and be worried free for next three years. They will send another email after three years if your account remains inactive. Yes there is a law and they are required by law to deposit such properties (money) to SCO office. Why are you making such a big deal out of it?

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