Wallet Hacks

Hey, you’re missing money, here’s how to find it

A short time ago, my sister in law had to visit a local PNC Bank branch to close an account before they turned the assets over to the local government.

It sounds ominous but it turns out that this happens a lot. People change jobs, they move cities or states, and forget that they had $50 in a bank account they opened back in Louisiana when they attended LSU.

After a couple years, if you don't log into the account you forgot you had, that fifty bucks gets sent to the Louisiana's Unclaimed Property Program and waits for you to find it. It's not the bank's fault, they sent you letters but you no longer lived at the address on file!

It might shock you but in one of its biggest years, the Louisiana program returned $35.5 million with an average return of nearly seven hundred bucks. What would you do with seven hundred dollars?

It's ridiculous.

I asked my friends to do a quick search and my friend Todd found nearly $2,700. No joke.

A reader, Jo, found $2,400 in her husband's name! She thinks it's an old bank account.

Not too shabby!

It's not just old bank accounts. It's payroll checks, CDs, stocks, insurance proceeds, utility payments, tax refund checks, … the list goes on and on. There's a staggering amount of money out there.

So, take a few seconds and do a quick check on MissingMoney.com. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) vouches for the search engine and so do I.

The NAUPA estimates that state treasuries and other agencies have tens of billions of dollars in unclaimed assets and the easiest way to find it is with MissingMoney. You just need to enter your name and pick a state (I did every state I ever lived in) to do a search. It takes just a few seconds and you could find $50 or $500.

Not every state participates in MissingMoney.com, in some instances you have to go to the state's unclaimed property division. For a list of those states on MissingMoney.com, check here.

If you find money, the recovery process varies from state to state but it's straightforward. You will need to prove that you are who you say you are and that it's your abandoned account or missing check. You will need to fill out some paperwork, find a notary to get it notarized, and mail it or fax it in. It'snot going to be super quick and there's a fair amount of waiting while state agencies do their state agency thing at the state agency pace (slowwwww).

But your cash will get back to you. And there's just the principle of the thing. It's your cash!

Go get your cash! (and look up your loved ones too while you're at it!)

Some people have found tens of thousands and even millions of dollars (fwiw, it was an estate). I have no idea how they would lose track of something like that but it happens. it's more likely you will find something like $58, but that's still real money you didn't know was yours.

If you happen to find any cash, big or small, tell me about it — I'd love to share your awesome story. 🙂

Here's one of the latest:

Brenda found $299.88!