You are currently viewing CONSUMER CORNER—Free Money!

CONSUMER CORNER—Free Money!

  • Post category:The Dry Log

Would it be a surprise to learn that over $3 billion is distributed every year, to individuals all over the country, and…it’s all free of charge?!

The funds are financial assets unknown or lost, or left inactive, unclaimed, or abandoned by the owner. Every state has a sophisticated online mechanism for getting that asset (often cash) to its rightful owner.  

To help Dry Log readers find out if they’re on a “free money” list, Rytech did a little research we hope you’ll find helpful.  

The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds. 

Businesses (the typical holders of unclaimed property) are required to locate the owner if they can but, when their attempts fail, they report the property and the owner’s name, last known address and other information to the appropriate state agency.  The agency then acts as custodian but never takes legal ownership of the property. The states use various methods, including database searches, in an effort to notify owners of their property. Citizens have the right to claim their property, at no cost, any time, regardless of the amount.

Despite the potential for huge sums, many believe their chances of getting anything are quite small. But, apparently, that’s not always true.

Many states report remarkable recovery rates. Illinois, for example, is currently holding $3.5 billion in funds and the state treasurer says, “1 in 4 who check our database discover unclaimed property.” 

Florida paid out $349 million last year alone and says you have a 20% chance of getting something.  Maryland is holding $274,683,702.  Indiana currently has $29,270,435 to give away. And, in virtually every state, the odds you’ll get something are far better than a trip to Vegas, plus it doesn’t “stay” in the state where you found it.

How do you find out if you’ve got some missing money?  Easy! Go to Missing Money and use the “clickable” map with every US state, including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Kenya as well as Quebec, British Columbia, and  Alberta Canada to see what riches may await. 

Sadly, for Federal dollars there is no government-wide, centralized service or database like there is in each state—each federal agency maintains its own records.  But, once you have the type of benefit, the date on which the payment was expected, and how the payment should have been made, most federal agencies can help you find your money. The titles and addresses for all federal agencies can be found in the United States Government Manual.  

To learn more about unclaimed property, The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ website www.unclaimed.org is an excellent resource. It was developed by state unclaimed property experts to assist the public, free of charge, in efforts to search for funds that may belong to you or your relatives. 

IMPORTANT: There are third-party “finders” out there that may offer to locate and claim your unclaimed property for you. While not required to obtain your unclaimed property, these third-party services are in most cases legal.  

HAPPY HUNTING!