Batten down the hatches and prepare to set sail for the gold and glory! This is the tale of a modern-day treasure hunt, embarked upon with the power of the internet. Whether you have an affinity for open waters or not, finding your very own unclaimed funds is very much a real possibility.
My husband and I were recently advised to check the internet for any unclaimed funds we may be owed, and lo and behold we found a few hundred dollars across 8 different places, from a doctor's office to utility companies, to a forgotten credit union account. The treasure hunt was on! The dollars we discovered were forgotten from our early twenties, before we were married, and in states we no longer lived in. It was sweet satisfaction to reclaim our cash! Even though the funds were previously earned by us, it felt like getting free money.
We recommend you perform a search for unclaimed property in your resident state as well as any states you previously lived in. To start, visit NAUPA’s website Unclaimed.org, a national network collecting records from all 50 states. From there, you can find links to each state’s official unclaimed property program. These are all vetted government resources, and it’s important you go through NAUPA-provided websites versus a general search engine. Here are two websites to get you started:
- Missing Money website, powered by National Association of State Treasurers and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: Unclaimed.org
- North Carolina Department of State Treasurer : Missingmoney.com
When you click on a state, you will be directed to its official website. If you find any unclaimed funds of your own, you can expect to do a little legwork to claim them. Plan on completing online forms, providing proof of identification, paper signatures, faxing, or mailing meet the requirements. In some cases, you can complete the process online in a matter of minutes and receive your refund within 30 days. Some other government sources with searchable databases include:
- The IRS website for any undeliverable tax refunds
- The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for unclaimed pension money
- The U.S. Treasury Hunt for unclaimed savings bonds, registered Treasury notes or registered Treasury bonds
The states don’t charge to claim property, so beware of third parties who offer to help claim property for a fee. One in 10 Americans have unclaimed money – we hope you find your coffer!
Written by Elizabeth Eastman
Image credit: iStock photo, Imgorthand