Billions In Unclaimed Property: The State Might Be Holding Onto Yours

Updated: February 26, 2018
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Last week my friend told me she found free money online. I giggled to myself. Free money? There’s no such thing. So I did some digging. She was referring to an individual’s unclaimed property, which is money that’s owed to you for one reason or another. Maybe it’s an old utility security deposit you forgot about, or perhaps an uncashed payroll check.

So it’s not really free, it’s yours. But you might not have known it existed without the help of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, or NAUPA for short, an organization where you can claim your lost dollars. Right now, there’s nearly 60 billion dollars worth of unclaimed money.

Getting Your Money Back

Whatever the case may be, this money is turned over to the state when you can’t be found. It’s usually because of a clerical error or change of address. But the cool thing is that you can get this money back by visiting NAUPA’s website!

Every state has an unclaimed property agency that collects your unpaid money, keeping it in the hands of the government and out of the hands of private companies. When you visit the site, you can access your state’s agency, type in your name and address, and voila, you might have some lingering cash waiting to be claimed. Also, if you’ve lived in more than one state, you might have money in more than one place. So don’t forget to check all of your previous addresses!

Also, There Are Unclaimed Property Auctions

The state also holds onto tangible property such as content from safe deposit boxes. Since it’s impossible to store and maintain all of these items, most states periodically hold auctions, accrue the funds obtained from the sale of the goods, and hold onto that cash for the owner.

And if you’re looking to score some cool stuff at a great price, check to see if your state is holding an upcoming auction and purchase some new goods!

How Your Money Is Used When Not In Your Hands

So, you might be wondering how your unclaimed money is used when you’re not the one in control of it. Rest assured, it’s likely going toward a good cause like special programs for public schools or college scholarships. Perhaps that makes you feel a little better?

Now You Know

Don’t just let your money seep through your fingers. Be vigilant. Stay on top of your finances. And check out NAUPA to see if you have extra money lying around. You never know.