According to ABC News, there’s at least $32 billion in unclaimed money. Unclaimed money and property comes in many different forms: checks that haven’t been cashed, stocks bonds, and abandoned safe deposit boxes. Businesses typically hold unclaimed property for a certain amount of time. If the owner never shows to claim the money, then it’s turned over to state treasury.
It’s your responsibility to find any unclaimed money that’s due to you. The truth is that no one will come after you with a check for your unclaimed money. It’s up to you to search for and claim your unclaimed money and property.
What makes it slightly difficult to find unclaimed money is that there’s no centralized place where unclaimed money is held. Instead, you have to search several different databases to see if there’s no unclaimed money. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to find your unclaimed money. All you have to do is enter your name, and sometimes your state, into a website and the results tell you if you have any unclaimed money. In some states, you can even submit your claim online. Most states will ask you for some type of documentation that proves your identity before releasing the unclaimed funds to you.
The government site USA.gov has a list of links that you can click to find government unclaimed money including savings bonds, damaged money, state unclaimed property, and unclaimed government benefits. You can also visit MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org to do a pretty good nationwide free unclaimed money property search. Use the U.S. Treasury site to track down unclaimed savings bonds, the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits to find an unclaimed 401(k) or IRA stretch, and the FDIC unclaimed funds and NCUA unclaimed funds sites to find unclaimed funds from a failed institution.
If you or a loved one resided or held property in multiple states, even for a short period of time, you should search each state’s unclaimed money database. You should also search for maiden names, married names, and variations of your name that might have been used with accounts.
Don’t fall for unclaimed money schemes. You don’t have to pay a price to get your unclaimed money or property. If someone contacts you saying they can help you get unclaimed money if you give them a cut, don’t fall for it. The state agency that has your property won’t charge you for claiming your money.
Legitimate unclaimed money websites will not ask for your social security number and will not ask you to pay a fee or submit your credit card number. Entering your personal information into one of these websites could lead to identity theft and credit card fraud Avoid any website that requests this information. Don’t click on email or ad links that promise to send you to websites that will help you find unclaimed funds. Instead, go directly to the sites that have been mentioned in this article to be sure that you’re at the right website.
Don’t pretend to be someone else so you can collect that person’s unclaimed money. That offense is known as fraud and you can be punished with jail time and a hefty fine depending on how much money you fraudulently claim.
If you’re diligent about keeping up with your money, there’s a chance that you may not find any unclaimed funds in your name. But, deceased relatives may have bequeathed money or property for you, so it’s worth looking for. At least once a year, go through all these channels to see if anything turns up. The searches just take a few minutes, so there’s not a big time sacrifice just to see if you’ve won the unclaimed money lottery.