Nothing is more unsettling than receiving a letter from an unknown company claiming to have financial information about you that you yourself are unaware of. On the other end of spectrum, is there a better feeling than finding a $20 bill in the old pair of jeans? Believe it or not, these two scenarios aren’t always mutually exclusive. Indeed, we’ve had clients receive letters from various independent claims services stating that there are unclaimed assets in their name, and they can help track down the funds for you. While this may seem too good to be true, it isn’t always.
Every year, millions of dollars are transferred to government agencies by banks, employers and corporations that are legally obligated to turn over lost, abandoned, or inactive accounts. These funds are unclaimed for various reasons – people move, change names or are part of class action lawsuits they didn’t even know about. Since the unclaimed assets are turned over to government agencies, information about these assets becomes public.
Do You Have Unclaimed Assets?
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Associations, 1 in 10 people have unclaimed assets and the U.S. has billions of dollars in unclaimed property. Don’t wait for a claims company or the state to track you down – check for yourself. Each state has its own website where you can easily search for unclaimed property.
- National Directory – https://unclaimed.org/
- California – https://sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html
- Oregon – https://unclaimed.oregon.gov/
- Washington – https://ucp.dor.wa.gov/
- *Aggregate Search – https://www.missingmoney.com/en/
* If you’d like to search multiple states at once, you can do so through the Aggregate Search website listed above. Note: Not all states are included in this search. Check the States page to make sure your state is included.
Submit A Claim
If you do find property in your name, you’ll need to submit a claim through the state website to begin the process. Each state is different, but the steps are generally:
- Search for property
- Submit claim
- Complete claim
After submitting your claim (step 2), you may be required to provide some identification. Here are examples of what the state may ask for:
- Copy of a current, government-issued photo ID
- Proof of current mailing address
- Proof of address for the property you are claiming
- Proof of social security number
What About Fraud?
Be wary of unsolicited offers to help you track down your funds. These offers come in the form of emails, post-cards and letters. To be fair, many of the offers come from legitimate companies; however, they typically charge a percentage (i.e. 10%) of the unclaimed asset for their service. If you go this route, be sure to do your research and confirm the legitimacy of the company before providing sensitive information.