How to Find Your Unclaimed Property Using an Online Search
How I Got $100 Sent to Me
I got $100 without doing much. I'm amazed, to say the least!
Like many of those who browse the internet, I'm always on the lookout for ways to get some extra cash. A few weeks ago I was wandering around the cyberspace and came across one of those ads for unclaimed property. I've passed up these ads before because there are so many promises of quick cash that come to nothing, but this time I decided to do a little more research.
You Should Not Have to Pay to Check for Your Unclaimed Property
Although there are companies you can pay to do searches for your unclaimed property, there are many free sites that you can easily search on your own. There are sites to look for VA benefits, lost U.S. Savings Bonds and even international unclaimed money.
A good place to start your search is on the NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property) site. NAUPA is a free government website which is affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers. This database can link to any state that has an online searchable database for unclaimed funds.
The Search Only Takes a Few Minutes.
To start out, enter your last name and current state of residence into the search field. If nothing comes up, try again using only your last name. Don't forget to try any other names you may have used like a maiden name or married name that you no longer use.
If you've lived in different states as I have, check out each state individually. This is very easy to do on The Missing Money website. Start by entering your last name and current state of residence in the Missing Money search field. If this initial search doesn't turn up anything, the site will suggest going to the individual state database for which a link is provided. From there try other states where you've lived, using your name and your spouse's name. I found that I got more information by using just my last name, then I could scroll through the hits to see if any of the addresses matched.
There Really Is Unclaimed Money
The money may come from many different sources: uncashed rebate or other checks; unclaimed security deposits; extra interest; uncashed dividend or payroll checks; refunds; traveler's checks; insurance payments; customer over payments of utility bills; unclaimed inheritances and more. In some states, you can even get refunds for unused gift certificates.
I Found My Name and There Was Unclaimed Money!
In a few minutes, I was delighted and surprised to see my name pop up in South Dakota's unclaimed funds' database. At first I couldn't imagine why I would have unclaimed funds, but eventually, I remembered that a rebate check for a cell phone I had purchased years ago never arrived. The website didn't tell me exactly how much money was there or where it originated but did give me a link to download and print a claim form. O.K., that sounded pretty easy. The one-page form asked for some basic information as well as proof that I had resided at the address in their database and proof of ID. In a few minutes I had filled it out, made copies of pertinent information and sent it off to the State Treasurer of South Dakota. What did I have to lose except the cost of a stamp?
Submit Proof of Residency to Make Sure Your Check Arrives
Two requirements for making a claim are to claim proof of residency in the state where you found your unclaimed money and proof of your ID. My money was fairly easy to claim because I had proof of my residency in South Dakota and proof of my ID. Claiming money from a state of residence where you resided many years ago might be harder, especially if you don't have proof of your residence. But even so, I think it could be done.
Four weeks after I sent in my request, I received a check for $100 from the South Dakota State Treasurer! The mystery of where it came from was not ever solved as they didn't tell me in their letter, but, hey, I'll take it anyway!
Good luck with your search for unclaimed property! Start with the NAUPA site, then check out the links below, too. They're all free and easy.
Other Useful Links for Unclaimed Money
- The Internal Revenue Service. The IRS may have an undeliverable refund check that belongs to you: U.S. Federal Tax refund checks.
- Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. If your pension plan no longer exists, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has a searchable database which will help you determine whether you are owed any pension benefits.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). A resource website to search for any unclaimed insured deposits for financial institutions that were closed by a regulatory agency between Jan. 1, 1989 and June 28, 1993.
- U.S. Savings Bonds. Go to Missing U.S. Federal Savings Bonds to see if you can reclaim missing U.S. Savings Bonds. You can also download forms to cash Bonds in the name of someone who is deceased at Treasurydirect.com.
- Veterans Administration Benefits. Search for unclaimed veterans benefits owed to you by the federal government.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2010 Stephanie Henkel