What is unclaimed cash? Banks, utilitiy companies, insurance companies and investment companies and other similar businesses are required to surrender inactive accounts to the state. These unclaimed accounts are considered “lost”, “abandoned” or “unclaimed” assets.
Unclaimed assets can include:
- forgottten savings or checking accounts
- uncashed paychecks
- unclaimed security deposits
- unused gift certificates (in some states)
- safety deposit box contents
- investment accounts
- unclaimed savings bonds
- tax refunds
- life insurance policies
- accounts in failed banks or savings institutions that went under
- retirement accounts that got left behind
Yahoo Finance posted 10 tips to help find and recover unclaimed cash with simple searches you can do in ten minutes or less:
1. Miscellaneous Money
If you are searching for things such as forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed overtime checks, lost insurance refunds or abandoned safe deposit boxes, your first stop is the states. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) has set up a free website at www.unclaimed.org that will link you to the appropriate department in your state that holds the funds. (IMPORTANT: this is a .ORG website, NOT a .com. If you mistakenly type in .com, you will be taken to a pay site. It is never necessary to pay a fee or a finder to help you find unclaimed money.)
2. Missing Money
If you would like to search several states at once, you can do so at another free, though commercially run site called www.missingmoney.com. When you first search, you are prompted to enter your home state. Be sure to search again and this time choose “all states and provinces” on the drop down menu. One last thing: it’s not actually ALL states. On the site’s home page you can view a map of which states are and are not included. If you have lived in states that do not participate in this site, be sure to go back to Unclaimed.org and search those sites individually.
3. Unclaimed Savings Bonds
It’s easy for savings bonds to go unclaimed because they take 30 to 40 years to mature. That’s why the Treasury Department has set up a simple search website, available HERE, where you can find forgotten bonds by typing in your social security number. Certain bonds are not listed online and require a hand search. You can read about them at the same Treasury link.
4. Federal Tax Refunds
Everybody looks forward to getting an income tax refund check, but if yours didn’t arrive, what do you do? The IRS now provides a “Where’s my Refund?” feature on its website. You can look up your missing check by entering the amount you are owed, plus your social security number.
5. Lost Life Insurance Policies
The proceeds of lost life insurance policies may turn up in your state search. If not, and you suspect you are the beneficiary of a loved one’s lost life insurance policy, you can hire a company called MIB Solutions to search for you. MIB is a private company that houses life insurance application information for much of the industry. It costs $75 to search. Go to www.policylocator.com for more information.
6. Failed Accounts In a Bank If you didn’t collect your money when your bank went under, chances are your account was insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The good news, in that case, is that the FDIC is holding your money, and you can find it HERE.
7. Failed Accounts In a Credit Union
If your money was in a credit union as it failed, visit the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) HERE to track down your money.
8. Misplaced Pensions
If your company still exists, or has been bought out, you need to approach the company directly. If you are owed a pension from a company that went under, there is a federal agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), that safeguards private pensions. You can track down your pension HERE on the PBGC website.
9. Retirement Money
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), is the federal agency charged with making sure retirement money is reunited with its rightful owners. The EBSA sometimes even sues to seize retirement money. You can utilize the agency’s services by clicking HERE.
10. Lost 401(k)s
Sometimes when people leave a job, they leave behind a 401(k) as well. If the company goes out of business, that only compounds the confusion. Fortunately, companies that administer 401(k) plans have teamed up to create a search engine you can use to track down your 401(k).
I get excited when I find a $5 dollar bill in a pocket! Let me know if you find any money! This could be good….