Unclaimed Money Search

Find out if some of it may belong to you or someone you know!

Hint: Search for yourself, a relative or a friend.

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What is
unclaimed property?

Usually when you hear the words "free money," more often than not, it's a scam. Unclaimed money, however, is legitimate, and some of it might be yours.

Government agencies and private businesses are holding nearly $60 billion in unclaimed cash—money that by all indications may rightly belong to someone who may not even know it exists.

Unclaimed money, sometimes called unclaimed property, comes in a variety of forms. It might be an uncollected tax refund, an abandoned checking account balance or a forgotten security deposit on a utility bill.

If you're owed unclaimed money, you should be legally entitled to it. You don't necessarily forfeit your right to collect it even 20 years later (depending upon the jurisdiction and applicable escheat laws). If you're the legal heir of someone with unclaimed assets, you may be able to claim the money on their behalf. Government agencies and corporations can't, in many circumstances, keep and spend the money just because you haven't claimed it yet.

How to find unclaimed money

Unfortunately, there's no "unclaimed money" website listing the money owed to private citizens. You have to look for it yourself, which can be tricky if you're not sure what you're looking for.

Start with your current state of residence and any state in which you've lived in the past. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators maintains Unclaimed.org, a website where you can search for missing money on a state-by-state basis.

State agencies are a good place to start since most states have laws requiring banks and businesses to turn over their unclaimed property so that the government can search for the rightful owner. If you're owed a utility deposit or property tax rebate, it's likely held by the state.

However, many unclaimed assets aren't turned over to the state, so don't give up if a state search turns up empty. You may need to search other websites and databases to find your unclaimed cash.

Unclaimed Money by Federal Agency
2018

Source: Treasury Department and Financial Management Service

Types of unclaimed property

  • Tax refunds: Some tax refund checks are undelivered or unclaimed and, in some cases, the government may be holding a refund even if you didn't file a return. Check the IRS website for federal returns or your state treasury department for unclaimed state tax refunds.
  • Pension payments: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is a federal agency dedicated to managing unclaimed pension payments. There is a search feature on the agency's website to help you find any missing money you may be owed.
  • Savings bonds: The government recently retired its "treasury hunt" search feature, but if you know your savings bonds were lost or stolen, you can visit the U.S. Treasury website and file a claim.
  • Life insurance: Insurance companies are holding almost $1 billion in unpaid benefits. You may have to do some digging to find evidence of a loved one's insurance coverage. If you find premium payments or old policy paperwork, contact the insurance company directly to see if you're owed unclaimed benefits. If your loved one served in the armed forces, you can also search the Department of Veterans Affairs website for unclaimed insurance funds.
  • Back wages: The U.S. Department of Labor holds unpaid wages for three years, so if you've recently left a job, this is a good place to look. States may also hold undelivered wages for local businesses, so check your state labor department, too.
  • FHA insurance refunds: Many people don't know that they may be entitled to an insurance refund if they had a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration. You can search the Housing and Urban Development website using your FHA case number for unclaimed cash.
  • FDIC refunds: If you had money on deposit with a bank or credit union that failed, the FDIC may be holding your missing money. You can search the FDIC's list of closed banks to find out if you have unclaimed cash.
  • Tax lien overpayments: If you owned property that was foreclosed and sold at auction, you may be owed an overpayment. These funds are handled differently than other types of unclaimed money, so you need to contact the county clerk where the property was located to see which agency is holding your money and how to collect it.

Who should search for unclaimed money?

It's easy to imagine only the wealthy have unclaimed money to collect, but anyone could be owed missing cash. The state of New York has more than $14 billion in unclaimed property—that's around $700 for every resident of the state.

About half of all missing money claims involve $100 or less, but many people collect a lot more. The state of Texas returned $200 million in one year, with an average claim of $1,000.

Since most people aren't aware they're owed missing money, it never hurts to search. It can cost you nothing to collect your money, and filing a claim is usually as simple as completing an online form.

Top Dollar Amount of Unclaimed Money per State
2018

Source: Simple Thrifty Living

How to file a claim for unclaimed money

Each state agency and organization has its own system for processing claims. Some allow you to file online, while others require you to physically mail in your claim and supporting paperwork.

You may be asked to prove your identity when you submit a claim. If you're filing a claim on behalf of someone who has died, you'll need a certified copy of the death certificate and will, if there is one, or other estate documentation. When there is no will, the state requires other legal documents, such as affidavits and letters of administration.

Beware of scams

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers about the growing threat of unclaimed money scams. The fraudsters send you an email or postcard notifying you there's unclaimed money in your name. You're asked to supply personal information to confirm your identity and provide a debit or credit card number to cover postage and administrative fees.

Once you provide that information, the scammer has your personal and financial information to use for identity theft or to run up fraudulent charges on your accounts.

According to the BBB, legitimate organizations will never contact you in this way about unclaimed money. You should never pay a fee to collect unclaimed accounts, and you should never give your personal information over the phone or via email.

How BeenVerified can help you find unclaimed money

BeenVerified's Unclaimed Money Search combs publicly available databases to locate assets and accounts held in the name of its users. If you're owed any unclaimed money, BeenVerified can help locate and contact the appropriate agencies, so that you may file a claim. In some cases, you could obtain money in as little as two weeks, although some claims may take longer.

With BeenVerified, it costs you nothing additional to search for missing money—and you may learn all you need to file a claim. You don't necessarily have to provide any very detailed personal information, and you can be in control of the process from start to finish.

Governments, banks and businesses are holding billions in unclaimed money. Use BeenVerified's Unclaimed Money Search to try and see what portion, if any, might belong to you.

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