I remember the first time that I heard about unclaimed money. I thought for sure that it was a scam. After all, it sounds too good to be true. You simply enter your personal information. If your name comes up, then you might have unclaimed money. If so, then you can claim it. Shortly after, you receive a check.
See, it sounds like a scam. However, unclaimed money isn’t a scam at all. I know firsthand because I’ve collected mine in the past. Now I check for it each year, usually around the same time that I do my taxes.
What Is Unclaimed Money?
Unclaimed money is simply money that you were supposed to receive but for some reason didn’t cash in on. For example, if the IRS sent you a tax refund, but you had moved, and they never got your new address, then perhaps you never received that money. It still belongs to you. You just have to claim it. Some of the other types of unclaimed funds people sometimes have include:
- Retirement plan balances from former employers
- Life insurance benefits you didn’t know you were owed
- Money in old bank accounts that you’ve forgotten about
- Unredeemed and forgotten savings bonds
How to Find Unclaimed Money
It only takes a small amount of time to find your unclaimed funds. It doesn’t cost you anything. Furthermore, you might get cash. All you need to do is search through legitimate databases to find out if you’re owed anything. Then you need to follow their process (usually really simple) for requesting your funds. There are a few key places to search for your unclaimed money.
You can search for your money in a specific state. Go to Unclaimed.org. Then click on the map to select the state where you want to search. Alternatively, you can do a multi-state search by visiting MissingMoney.com. This site helps you find your missing money. Then it provides you with state-by-state contact information if you need to reach out to a specific place to receive your funds.
Some of the other sources to check for unclaimed money include:
- State and federal IRS
- The Treasury Departments Bureau of the Fiscal Service (there’s a claim form available)
- The Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor (check for unpaid wages by employer)
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (for unclaimed insurance for veterans)
- HUD.gov (if you’ve ever had an FHA-insured mortgage)
- National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits
- FDIC (search for money from failed banks)
- National Credit Union Administration (for failed credit unions)
- Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (if you might have unclaimed pensions)
You can also do a simple search by your name and state using Credit Karma.
Make Sure It’s Not a Scam
Unclaimed money is real. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who have taken advantage of this fact. They try to tell you that they have your unclaimed money. They don’t. If someone contacts you directly about unclaimed money, then it’s almost certainly a scam. Furthermore, you should never have to pay a fee to collect legitimate unclaimed money. Do your research and trust your gut when it comes to finding the money that you’re owed.