After my step-dad received a check for unclaimed cash owed to him, I became curious: Do I have free money out there? If so, how do I — and you, too — find it? That’s what we’ll uncover and find out in this article.
But, first, it’s important to know that there are billions of dollars in the United States of unclaimed assets and dollars. These include long forgotten security deposits from apartment you may have rented, uncashed checks, or even insurance refunds that were lost. This abandoned property also includes savings and checking accounts, money orders unredeemed, CDs, utility security deposits, safe deposit box contents, along with many more items.
How to find out if you have money out there
In the U.S., states have an unclaimed property statue. This statute protects your assets and money from going back to the company if, for instance, you have not maintained contact with them.
The law requires the funds to be turned over to the state, who collects interest on them. States do have an official or treasurer that tries to track you or your heirs down and return the abandoned property or unclaimed assets.
States have websites devoted to help you find lost cash and use public databases — like property records, for instance — to help locate you and return the unclaimed cash back to you. There are also national databases.
Because these resources are available, if you have unclaimed funds are out there — whether a few dollars or a few thousand dollars — you should be able to find them easily.
Here’s a list of sources and databases, along with types of unclaimed free money you might have:
1. National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at unclaimed.org: Offers links to your state’s department that handles unclaimed money.
2. Where’s My Refund at the IRS website: Offers a way look up a missing federal tax return check by amount owed and social security number.
3. Unclaimed savings bonds on the Treasury Department website: With a maturation rate of 30-40 years, savings bonds are easy to forget? Find your forgotten money with your social security number on their site.
4. Missing life insurance policies at policylocator.com: If you are a beneficiary, you may be able to find if you have unclaimed proceeds here.
5. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation may be holding missing money if you did not collect it when your bank went under. The FDIC may have it.
6. Missing pensions at Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Offers the ability to track down a pension owed to you from a company that went belly up. If the company is still in business — even owned by a different firm — contact that company directly.
7. Employee Benefits Security Administration makes sure folks get their retirement money.
8. How do i find out if i have 401k money? Companies that administer 401(k) plans have a search tool to help you find that lost 401(k) — even if your old employer goes out of business.
Don’t pay to find out if you have free money out there
Some of these sites do charge to do a search; however, it is in your best interest to contact your state’s unclaimed property office. This is free.
If you have lived and worked in a different states, it is important to check with each state you have resided.
A free site for unclaimed money includes MissingMoney.com — another free site is unclaimed.org, which offer collective records from state programs.
And to answer my question — Do I have free money out there? — I did. I found my security deposit of $300 from my first apartment, which I forgot about. It is possible to find these unclaimed assets and dollars with a quick search.