Thursday, May 23, 2013

Frugality Tip #9: Check for Unclaimed Money Owed You

I have a fun little story to tell you.

About a year ago, I received an email from my youngest brother, informing me that I had "unclaimed property" owed to me.

Uh... Right...

I figured his account had been hacked, and it was one of those spammer emails. I contacted him, to tell him he'd been hacked, only to have him ask if I'd checked out my unclaimed property yet.

What the... what?!?

Stick with me here... it'll be worth it...

He explained that he'd found out about a website that allows people to check for money owed to them. State governments have websites available for easy use to check for any unclaimed properties. Apparently unclaimed property laws have been around since the 1930's. There were 2.5 million claims totaling $2.25 billion returned to rightful owners in 2011 as a result of state unclaimed property program efforts. The average amount claimed? $892.

Here's what the website,, has to say about it:

Unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler's checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.

My brother said he'd looked into it for himself and the rest of our family, and was pleasantly surprised when he entered my name, and the website verified that someone with MY name from MY hometown (population 500, mind you) had unclaimed property.

Get. Out. 

I checked out the site, entered in my personal info., found my unclaimed money, and VOILA!

I was a whole $25.00 richer!

Not exactly a nest egg, I know. Still, it made my day. 

And today, I checked again, just for fun. Nothing for me.

BUT, my older brother's name came up and he has "$100+" to claim... can't wait to call him and make HIS day.

I share this with you, so you can check for yourself. The state of Idaho alone has nearly $111 million in unclaimed property. Illinois has $1.7 billion.

So, take 2 minutes, click on your state, enter in your first and last name, and see if there's a match. It's easy, and completely safe. 

Maybe you'll get a fun little surprise, like I did! Good luck!



  1. Awesome story!

    I've used before and found money for both my father-in-law and my brother. I think the site is pretty much like the one you talked about except that it checks all states at once when you search.

    I never thought of posting about it on my blog but that is a great idea. If you are like me it drives you nuts thinking about all that money that people could be claiming! :)

    1. Cool! I like the idea of checking all states at once, because I've lived in 5 states. :) You should totally post about it on your blog. I've had several people message me that they tried it and found money owed them. Needless to say, they were pretty excited.

  2. Went there and found almost 33 dollars. Woohoo!

  3. Thanks! Found money for my husband, brother, friends and father-in-law...woo-hoo!

  4. does NOT look at all states. States have to pay to have their information on it. Some choose not to participate. When you're on that site, click on the map of the US. It takes you to a color-coded map. Green states participate, blue do not. So if you had money in a blue state and you searched on, it wouldn't show up. That's why I always refer people to that this post started out with.
    There's a bonus on both sites that most people overlook. Up at the top there is an orange tab that links to Other Sources for Unclaimed Property. Click on it and it will take you to federal sites (federal money is not on the state sites) including the IRS for refunds that never came, the Treasury for savings bonds (about $16 billion of them), forgotten pensions ($300 million including a single listing for more than $700,000!) It also provides links to a few international listings.
    Never pay for an online search! If you're on a site that says you have to pay or offers a "free" membership for a month, you are on the wrong site!!
    I hope this was helpful. Happy treasure hunting!

    1. Thanks. This is very good information to have.

  5. I have to say I LOVE your site! I stumbled upon it through recipe searches on Pinterest a few days ago. My first recipe was pizza crust & sauce. I did a calzone instead of family RAVED about it! I felt so accomplished, especially because of the savings! So last night I did cinnamon rolls, they are already gone today, and I only had a small bite because I'm off gluten (whew, otherwise I'd have eaten them all--DELISH!!!). Trying the scones next, good ol' comfort food from my childhood (good thing I'm off gluten & will have a bite or two lol) Anyway...all this to say THANKS!
    I'm posting on the "unclaimed" section of your site because, while I heard of that tip before, I checked, brace yourself: $486! Yes, almost $500 was waiting for me! So yes, keep checking people! Because it all adds up. I had even checked the old credit union that owed me, and they told me I had nothing in my CD (because they had already sent it to unclaimed funds and never told me!) This is a great reminder to check again. PS: to make this post even longer... I found $180 for my husband, $1500 for my brother, plus a few hundred more for other family members! Thanks again! Liz

  6. I checked these sites and found no money for me but my husband had about $600. Thanks for sharing these sites! Everybody should know about this.

  7. I just checked this and four $33 for my husband. :) None for me, but we also found some for a friend!

  8. Couple things to note:
    1. There's more than "money" missing, there's also property.
    2. Often property records will reside with County or City Agencies and won't be available at the State level. It's best to inquire locally about what unclaimed property records may be available in your home town.

  9. Never heard of this!! Why not check right?! Thanks for posting (:


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