Don’t Pay to Find Lost Money

Don’t Pay to Find Lost Money
Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013

How do you spend commercial breaks? Checking your email? Playing Candy Crush Saga on Facebook? Why not spend it doing something productive like hunting for treasure?

You can by searching online for unclaimed money that’s owed to you. While it may seem unlikely, 2.5 million claims involving $2.25 billion were processed in 2011, returning the money to its rightful owners, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. That’s a lot of people receiving checks they hadn’t realized they were owed.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson tells you how to start your treasure hunt on your own for free. You don’t have to pay for this service. Check it out and then read on for more details.

There are dozens of websites promising to help you search for and claim missing money in exchange for a fee. Other businesses may contact you directly by mail or telephone saying you are owed money and offering to collect it for a fee. They’re accessing the same information you can obtain yourself for free online.

So don’t pay for a search. And don’t give out your personal information. Play it safe and stick with the websites we identify below.

What goes missing

A missing property search can find money from a variety of sources, including:

  • Matured and uncollected bonds.
  • Uncollected pension checks.
  • Rebate checks from retailers or manufacturers.
  • Leftover money from failed banks or closed accounts.
  • Earnings from stocks.
  • Insurance checks.

Whenever a company or some other entity that owed you money couldn’t get in contact with you, the money was turned over to the state. If you’re thinking no one owes you anything, you might be surprised. I did a search for my name and found four unpaid rebates and two accounts I had overpaid and was due money back on.

Where to find it

Start by visiting the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ site, unclaimed.org. From there, chose your location and you’ll be redirected to your state’s online money search. Enter a few personal tidbits and you’ll automatically see a list of what you’re owed. The NAUPA also maintains a database at MissingMoney.com.

You can also find unclaimed property on other sites like:

What you’ll need

To find out if there’s unclaimed money in your name, you’ll need to provide some basic personal information such as your full name and ZIP code and perhaps a previous address.

Getting the money will require submitting a form, which you can download and print. Once you mail the form, you should receive a check. However, your state agency may require documentation proving you are who you say you are, especially if you’re seeking a large amount. Identification documents could include a state-issued ID, birth certificate, or proof of address (such as a lease, utility bill or letter from a landlord).

Have you had the marvelous surprise of learning that missing money is owed to you? Share your experience on our Facebook page.

Popular Articles

Why Your Cable TV Package Is More Expensive Than Ever
Why Your Cable TV Package Is More Expensive Than Ever

Due to this trend, Americans who still maintain pay-TV service are paying through the nose.

107 Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash
107 Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash

Need quick cash? Here are lots of easy ways to earn extra money from home, from getting cash back when you shop to getting paid for watching videos and playing games.

7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings
7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings

You can make your retirement money last a lot longer by avoiding these costly mistakes

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments