It’s not exactly buried treasure, but there could be some forgotten money out there with your name on it. Every state in the U.S. has an unclaimed property program that works to connect the owners of lost or forgotten assets with their money. How widespread is this?
In 2015, over 3 billion dollars was sent back to the rightful owners.
This unclaimed property could be a checking or savings account you opened and forgot about, insurance payments, security deposits, refunds of overpayments, and on and on.
You can start here (a U.S. Treasury Department FAQ about unclaimed assets) and then move on to searching state by state here: https://www.unclaimed.org/
Here are other places to look for unclaimed funds:
- bank failures
- credit unions
- tax refunds
- HUD mortgage insurance
- back wages
- abandoned pension plans
- veterans’ life insurance benefits
As with all things that sound a little too good to be true, this is an area ripe for scams. Stick to the official government websites and beware of anyone contacting you out of the blue about unclaimed property you can get back if you just work with them (usually for an upfront fee.) If the money really is yours, you don’t need to pay anyone to get it back.
We recommend checking your state database once a year – have you done your annual check for free money yet?