Published: Mar 07, 2012 4:57 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida consumers are being warned to beware of an emerging unclaimed property scam.
    
State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Tuesday said scammers have been offering to reunite consumers with unclaimed property for an upfront fee of $600.
    
Atwater's Department of Financial Services is responsible for returning unclaimed cash, securities and other property left in safe deposit boxes and dormant accounts at Florida banks. It does not charge a fee.
    
He said a company calling itself The Florida Department of Financial Restitution has been falsely claiming it has a contract with his department.
    
Citizens have reported being asked by the company to pay the $600 although they had no unclaimed property held by the state.
    
The department last year returned a record $209 million in unclaimed property.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)