Unclaimed money in the United States runs into the billions of dollars. But if you go searching for unclaimed money, do it yourself – at least at first.
It’s one of those money dreams: A deceased relative had unclaimed property, which you suddenly turn up and recoup.
Billions of dollars are out there waiting to be claimed – everything from dormant savings or checking accounts and safe deposit boxes to unredeemed stocks, payroll checks, money orders, insurance payments, and annuities. Just for US savings bonds, the Treasury Department each year has 25,000 interest payments returned as undeliverable.
So it’s possible there’s a chunk of money waiting out there for you. Just one caution: If you do go searching for it, do it on your own – at least, at first. Be cautious about companies that promise to do the search for you, because their fees could eat up your gains.
The topic has generated considerable interest this week because “Good Morning America” has featured stories of people who found unclaimed money and experts who help them find it.
The main two places to look for unclaimed money are also the easiest: The US Treasury and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) have both set up websites where you can search for forgotten savings bonds and property held by states. Treasury’s site is Treasury Hunt. The states’ website is www.unclaimed.org.