How to find unclaimed funds...safely

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 13:56:56-05

Who doesn't like free money?

Many states are holding more than a billion dollars in their coffers, simply because it is unclaimed.

When Pat Jones checked the list, she found some easy cash.

"I found, I think it was $37 from an old phone deposit," she said.

She was so excited she's now turning it into a hobby. "I found over $100 for my niece, and my father-in-law had  $310, so that was real fun," Jones said.

But Do You Have to Give Your Social?

Some people, a bit suspicious of the whole gambit, asked us where does the money comes from?

Lori Woodrum had another issue: she applied for some unclaimed funds in her name, and filled out the forms, but never received anything.

She was reluctant to give out her Social Security number, due to all the concerns about ID theft.

"They wanted me to send a copy of my card, and I didn't want to do that," she said.

State treasurers explain that the money is often from old bank accounts, insurance proceeds, utility deposits and even inheritances.

In most cases, you have moved by the time the refund is issued, and they can't find you, as the Post Office forwards mail for only one year.

Treasurers say applying through official state websites is safe. 

Yes, you will be required to provide your Social, because that is how they can be sure it is you claiming the money, and not someone else.

But make sure it is the state, or legitimate bank or insurance company, you are giving your official information to.

How to Look

  • The easiest way is to go to the websites of  your state's Treasurer.
  • Or you can check them all at once by going to (link below).
  • Married women should be sure to check their maiden name.
  • If you find your name, the sites link to forms where you can claim your money.
  • You will have to provide proof of identity, such as scan of your drivers license, and your Social.

Direct Links

For any state, check

Pat Jones now loves the thrill of telling relatives what she has found. "They're like, 'you're kidding!' And say, 'no you really have money.' "  

It's money they never bothered to look for.    

And that way, you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.


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