Missing Money? How to Find Unclaimed Funds
Who doesn’t love finding money? Whether in the dryer, couch, or pocket, recouping lost or forgotten bucks can make anyone’s day better. Did you know there’s even a way to find YOUR missing money online? It’s true! According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, 1 in 7 people in the United States have unclaimed property that belongs to them. Collectively, there is over $3 billion worth of unclaimed property. Finding money online is simple and doesn’t cost you anything. In fact, if anyone tries to charge you for reclaiming what’s yours, don’t fall for it.
Here’s what you need to know to find unclaimed money for free.
First, What is Unclaimed Property?
What exactly is unclaimed property? According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, it is abandoned intangible or tangible property within financial institutions where there has been no activity or contact with the owner for a minimum of one year. Your unclaimed property can be as little as a few bucks or considerably more. After a specified period with no activity or contact, the property is turned over to the state. Types of unclaimed property include:
- Unclaimed money from uncashed payroll checks
- Utility deposits
- Unredeemed gift certificates or money orders
- Unclaimed funds left in checking or savings accounts
- Trust distributions
- Customer overpayments
- Insurance payments or refunds
- Uncashed dividends
- Contents of safety deposit boxes
Is Finding Money Online Legit?
Yes, but search for your unclaimed property through legit websites such as Unclaimed.org, MissingMoney.com, or USA.gov (for things like tax refunds). You should never have to pay to search for or claim your unclaimed property.
Here’s how our editor found a little over $200 in unclaimed funds online in Michigan, which turned out to be a refund from her auto insurance company. She’d moved from Michigan to Arizona, and her insurance company tried unsuccessfully to send her a refund. When the check went uncashed, the insurance company turned it over to the state, which deposited it to an unclaimed fund account in her name. She discovered it by searching for her name in the state of Michigan’s unclaimed fund site. She completed the required paperwork and received her $200+ check a few weeks later. She also found money in her grandparents’ names (they’d been deceased since 1989 and 1995), which her mother was able to claim.
How to Find Unclaimed Money
To perform a free unclaimed money search, visit Unclaimed.org and click on a state you currently reside in or have lived in. The website will redirect you to that state’s Department of Revenue or Treasury unclaimed property site, where you’ll need to follow instructions, including entering your first and last name.
You can search multiple states through MissingMoney.com. On the homepage, type in your first and last name. The website will display every instance that matches your name across the U.S. Of course, not every unclaimed property will be yours, especially if you’ve got a common name.
Click on those unclaimed properties if you’ve done business with the reporting business and lived at the address displayed. When ready, view those you selected by tapping the large green button in the upper right corner. Select your Claimant Relationship and tap the File Claim button. Fill out your current contact information, review your claim, digitally sign and click the submit button. That’s it. You’ll receive an email with additional details about the property to help you determine if it’s yours.
USA.gov can help you claim missing money, similar to the other two sites. However, this government website shows where to find unclaimed property by categories including:
- Banking and Investments
- Individual Indian Money (IIM) Account
- International Unclaimed Money
- Undelivered Federal Tax Refund Checks
- State Refund Checks
Tips to Help You Find and Claim Missing Money
Be sure to scroll through all names that come up when you search for yours. Look for instances where your first and last names have been reversed, misspelled, or abbreviated. The more common your name, the more time-consuming this search can be, but it’s worth it if you’ve got unclaimed property!
Don’t fall for scams related to unclaimed money finders. Each state has its own database, and the ones that we’ve listed here (MissingMoney.com, Unclaimed.org, and USA.gov) have been endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and the National Association of State Treasurers.
Since businesses and companies constantly send unclaimed funds to state unclaimed property programs, you should check for unclaimed money once a year. You can save the links to the above sites within the OneLaunch bookmarks, so next time you look for unclaimed money, just click the page you want to search.
Now, while you’re at it, add to your calendar a reminder for every January (or whenever you’d like) to check for unclaimed funds.