Thursday, May 23, 2013
Frugality Tip #9: Check for Unclaimed Money Owed You
Posted by Andrea
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.
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, unclaimed.org, 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.
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!