Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, and then Christmas will loom large, ready to take a bite out of your wallet.
So here’s some welcome news: A simple web search may turn up money you never even knew you had.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, there’s approximately $33 billion in unclaimed money sitting quietly in the form of forgotten savings accounts, uncashed checks, utility deposits, refunds, rebates, stocks, safe-deposit boxes, inheritances and more.
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) notes that every state has a statute that protects those types of funds from reverting back to the issuer. Companies are required to turn forgotten funds over to state officials tasked with finding you or your heirs. Most states hold the lost funds until you are found, returning them to you at little or no cost after you file a claim form and verify your identity.
These funds can be substantial. NAUPA reports that there is $41.7 billion waiting to be returned by state unclaimed property programs. In 2011, 2.5 million claims totaling $2.25 billion were returned to rightful owners as a result of those programs. The amount of an average claim was $892.
Where to begin? With two websites:
- MissingMoney.com contains the collective official records from most state unclaimed property programs.
- Unclaimed.org will link you directly to every state’s unclaimed property program web site.
No worries about your wallet here: The services on both sites are free.
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