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Find Missing Money – Unclaimed Paychecks and Other Property

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I was reading No Credit Needed (NCN is one of my favorite personal finance blogs) yesterday and his latest article was a reflection on his last three years of blogging, and a look toward his future.

One section in particular grabbed my attention:

One of the coolest things that happened while I was getting out of debt was receiving an unexpected check from the state of Florida. Read this post Found Money!! Wowser to learn more about my long-lost paycheck and the website Missing Money.

On a whim I went to the website Missing Money, and I typed in my state and last name. No, I didn’t have a paycheck waiting for me, but my brother did! The information provided by the website includes the person’s name, partial address, and where to contact to retrieve the money. The site also list the amount as under $100, or unknown. In my brother’s case, the amount is less than $100, but it’s still nice to get! I’ll have to let him know! :)

Find Unclaimed Properties: When paychecks are not picked up by the employee, the business turns them over to the state as unclaimed. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators assists states in the distribution of these unclaimed paychecks and other unclaimed properties.

According to the NAUPA website:

Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.

Another method of finding unclaimed property is contacting the state’s unclaimed property office.

Important Note: This is a free search! There are many companies out there that use the freedom of information act, in conjunction with sites such as Missing Money to find missing property for people. They sometimes charge a lot to do this!

From the NAUPA website Q&A:

I have received a notice that property has been found, but there is a fee to obtain it.There are many business firms, sometimes called finders or locators, which find legitimate lost property for owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain it for a fee, usually a percentage of the total (many states limit the fee to 10 percent). Sometimes, companies will hire these firms to find you before they turn the funds over to the state. Ultimately the finder will ask you to sign a contract. The majority of firms that provide these services work within the law, but there are also many unclaimed property scams across the United States. Before signing any contract from a firm of this type, we recommend that you be cautious and contact the unclaimed property office in your state for more information.

I recommend doing a search for your name. You might just be surprised at what you find! I know my brother will be! ;)


Published or updated April 27, 2011.
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