Unclaimed Property: How to Collect Your Cash

If you’ve ever come across change in your jean pocket or a few dollars in an old purse, you know the giddy joy of finding missing money. When you’re tight on cash, those extra few bucks can make all the difference. But what if you were able to come across more than that?

Each year, government agencies in the United States collect billions of dollars in unclaimed property waiting to be returned to the rightful owners—and, more likely than you might think, some of those lost funds could be yours.

The Basics of Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed property refers to lost monetary funds in accounts at financial institutions or organizations that haven’t had any activity or contact with the owner for at least a year.

First enacted in 1954, the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act requires holders of unclaimed property to “turn it over to the state unclaimed property administrator” after a given amount of time. The administrator then safeguards the accounts while actively seeking to return the lost property to the owner. The purpose is to protect owners from losing out on rightfully owed funds.

Common Types of Unclaimed Money

There are many forms of unclaimed money, however the most common include:

  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Securities
  • Bank accounts
  • Utility security deposits
  • Refunds
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Unredeemed money transfers

So, how do you know if you have lost money that’s owed to you? A simple and free search is all it takes.

Reclaiming Your Lost Funds

To unearth any possible funds you may be owed, you can search on your state’s treasury—or other responsible agency’s—page. However, if you’ve lived in multiple states this process could be tedious as you would have to perform multiple queries on each state’s website. The best option is to use a national database that collects the information from all the states.

Whereas other websites will charge a fee to release such data that may not even be accurate, MissingMoney.com is the only official, multi-state search engine endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) and supported by over 43 states. Searches and claims are always free, and our secure database is updated weekly with information from each participating state and province.

Discovering you’re owed money is as simple as typing in your name and pressing “Go.” Happy searching!

Got a question? Check out our detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions or contact us!