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How to Find Unclaimed Money

Finding a lost $20 in the cushions of your couch or in the pocket of an old pair of pants is one of life’s great joys. This is especially true during harder financial times. But did you know that you or a family member could have lost money waiting to be reunited with you? This money could be from an old escrow account, a utility deposit, or an insurance premium refund. When this property goes unclaimed, it is transferred to the state government. In this article, we arm you with the tools to find and reclaim that money.

“Approximately, 1 in 10 people have unclaimed money! There are literally billions of dollars in unclaimed property, held by state governments and treasuries within the United States,” according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Unclaimed money is unclaimed property that has been forgotten. You might be thinking – who forgets money that they have! But, it can happen to anyone, and sometimes money can even not be known to the property owner. This money can be anything from money owed to you by government offices to businesses and becomes unclaimed after a period of time of no contact with the owner of that money. The money is then transferred to the state government that the money is located in.  

Here are some examples of unclaimed money:
  • Forgotten Bank Accounts
  • Unclaimed Retirement Benefits
  • Paychecks
  • Security Deposits
  • Tax Refunds
  • Unclaimed Gift Cards
  • Customer Overpayment
  • Life Insurance Proceeds
  • Dividends or Interest payments

Finding Unclaimed Money

Finding unclaimed money shouldn’t cost you anything! You just need to be able to access a database within the state that you are searching. Access to the internet is necessary in order to do the free online search. Your search will need to be completed in any state that you or your family member has lived or worked.

Start your search. 
  • The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has a page that allows you to search within the state that you need.
  • Use your name or your family member’s name to make sure you find your funds. 
  • Make sure to use vetted websites for unclaimed property and not just a search engine. The US Government also provides a list of websites that can be used to find unclaimed property.
TIP! Make sure to use different variations of your name. For example, Sally Smith or Sally L. Smith. Sometimes your name might be listed incorrectly but your property address is correct.  
Submit a Claim Inquiry
  • You will need to provide information to verify your identity for yourself or your family members. Such as:
    • Social Security Number
    • Pay Stubs
    • Driver’s License
    • Contact Information 
  • Once you have completed the online forms then the state will verify whether you are eligible to get the funds.

The process could take around 30 days for you to receive your funds but this timeline also depends on the state that you are claiming in. 

Beware of Scams

While finding unclaimed money, be careful of frauds or scammers! There are third party companies out there that can find the money for you but ask for compensation in return. If you decide to use them then make sure that they are a reputable company before beginning. Consider asking a trusted family member to help you through this process.

If you receive an unprompted letter, email, or text about your unclaimed property, proceed with extreme caution. Before responding, verify that these messages are coming from your state’s treasury department before giving them any information or call your state directly to provide your information.

While you may think that you have kept close track of your assets and accounts, there may be a chance that you have unclaimed money available and every bit helps!

Additional Resources

How to Find Forgotten Cash 

Unclaimed Money from the Government

Unclaimed Money Guide

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