Tribune Print Share Text

You don’t need an expert to get your unclaimed funds

Created date

May 10th, 2017

There are billions of dollars just waiting to be claimed. If that sounds like a scam, it’s not. Uncashed I.R.S. refund checks, money from bank failures or credit union closures, unclaimed life insurance, pension money, and back wages all add up to billions of dollars sitting in government accounts waiting to be claimed.

While researching this article, I found $261 belonging to my son. He had opened a bank account in college and when he graduated, he forgot all about it. He also failed to leave a forwarding address. 

Claiming that money was easy. He filled out a brief online form, included his current address, and received a check for the full amount within two weeks. 

I mention this because there are quite a few scammers out there who will tell you that they are experts in retrieving unclaimed money for consumers. What they won’t tell you is that you don’t need any particular expertise to claim your money. 

Completely unnecessary

While these companies may be legit, they are not necessary. They operate by scanning state unclaimed property rolls and contacting people on the list. They offer to tell you how to retrieve your money for a fee, sometimes as much as 10% of the unclaimed amount. 

You can do this yourself. All you need is access to the Internet. Start with MissingMoney.com, a site that collects information from many states (though not all). If you happen to live in a state that isn’t associated with MissingMoney.com, it will give you a link to that state’s site.

Fill in your name and your state and select search. The site will come up with a list of names that match yours along with addresses associated with the names. It also lists where the money originated from. For example, it might say I.R.S. or the name of a bank or an employer. 

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is committed to helping consumers locate their unclaimed money. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous scammers stole the organization’s letterhead and sent out bogus letters offering to help consumers find uncollected funds—for 25% of whatever is recovered. This letter is a fraud.

“The state unclaimed property agencies themselves regularly contact rightful owners in an effort to reunite them with their lost property, but NAUPA does not notify owners of forgotten or missing funds. Our association does not do that,” says Curtis M. Loftis, Jr., president of NAUPA and state treasurer of South Carolina.

It’s great when you discover money you didn’t know you had, but not great when scammers try to take it from you. Visit MissingMoney.com and see what you may be missing.      

Comments