Unclaimed property totals billions of dollars nationwide. The Internal Revenue Service alone holds $25.6 million dollars in un-cashed tax refund checks. An estimated one in four Americans has some kind of unclaimed property. Are you that fourth person? It's worth checking out and it's free.
Where does it come from?
It can basically come from anywhere, but the most common types are:
-Un-cashed payroll checks, travelers checks, or money orders
-Forgotten savings and checking accounts
-Unused Gift Certificates
-Unpaid insurance policies
-Security or utility deposits
-Unclaimed wages or commissions
-Stocks and bonds
-Forgotten layaway balances
-Safe deposit boxes
-Mortgage insurance refunds
How can I find out if I have money?
Unclaimed property is normally settled on the state level. You need to search in every state you lived or worked in as well as the states that any deceased relatives (if you were the one who settled their estate) have lived or worked in. You should search for their name and yours and under both maiden and married names.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? It's not! The web makes it easy to check every state in just seconds. Arkansas' site allows you to search using the web or you can call 1-800-CLAIMIT and search over the phone. If you find money, all you have to do is fill out a short form and submit some id.
If you need to search other states, try About Guide Robert Longley's state unclaimed property search page. He has links to all 50 states' unclaimed property pages.
Should I pay someone to search for me?
There are some services that offer to find unclaimed property for a fee. Some will solicit you saying they've already found some unclaimed money for you. Not all of these companies are a scam. Some will actually search for you (although I would be weary of those who claim they've already searched and found something). Some are a scam. It's so easy to do it yourself that it's not worth the money or the risk of being taken advantage of!
The states are trying to make unclaimed property lists easy to search and very accessible. Anyone should be able to find their unclaimed property without the aid of a service. Most of the services will charge you a fee whether they find any money or not! It's not worth it. Just go through the process of searching the web sites. The services don't have access to anything you don't.