Millions of people across the nation are owed money from housing deposits, refunds, old pension plans, and forgotten bank accounts, as well as numerous other types of financial windfalls. It is estimated that nearly $41.7 billion is currently held in government unclaimed-property programs. By law, companies can’t keep that money and must turn it over to the state for safekeeping if they can’t find you. The great thing about finding this unclaimed money is that the money already has your name on it because it’s yours.
It is free to search for unclaimed money using websites provided by the government and related agencies. One of the best websites for finding unclaimed money is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) website. NAUPA links to every state’s unclaimed property database, making it easy to find whether you have any unclaimed money under your name by doing a simple search.
Another large source of unclaimed funds are mature treasury bonds that have gone unclaimed. The Treasury Department holds billions in unclaimed bond money from the 25,000 payments it gets back annually. The Treasury Department maintains a Treasury Hunt webpage to help people find if some of that money is owed to them.
You may also be owed money from the IRS that you are unaware of. This frequently happens when an employee makes too little money to file taxes, but the employer withheld money from the paychecks to pay income taxes. To get that money back, you need to file a return with the IRS within three years. If you moved and missed receiving a refund check, the IRS will reissue the check if it’s within 12 months of when you filed.
If you were ever employed by a company that offered a retirement plan or had a failed pension plan, you might be owed money from the company. Many people leave the company they are employed with before they are able to claim the money in their retirement plan, leaving millions of dollars in the hands of these companies. The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits post the names of employees due retirement benefits that the companies have been unable to locate and make contact with. Failed pension plans are generally taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which maintains a website to help workers find out if they have pension benefits available under the old plans.
When searching for unclaimed money, you must be careful because a number of scammers and scam websites try to trick you with the promise of finding your unclaimed money for you. Some of these scammers try to charge you a fee for conducting the search while others use the allure of unclaimed money to get you to reveal personal information, like your birthdate and social security number. If you find that the website you are on is asking you for money to proceed, you are probably on a website that is trying to scam you.