How to Find Unclaimed Money Owed to You

( – Even people who are generally good at budgeting and keeping track of where their money is going can forget that they are owed a refund, deposit, paycheck, insurance claim, or other funds they never received. Knowing how to search for unclaimed money is an important first step in figuring out where money that belongs to you is so that you can work towards getting it back.

What Is Unclaimed Money?

You might think you know where all your money is, but certain types of funds that are owed to you can be easy to lose track of. Money that you thought you put somewhere safe and completely forgot about, refunds you never received or deposits that were never returned to you, contents of closed accounts, payments you did not receive, and other types of money that are yours but never found their way to you are considered unclaimed money. Although this money can be difficult to find, especially if you do not know where to look or even realize it exists, you have options for searching for and claiming your money.

Types of Unclaimed Money

Most unclaimed money is the result of some type of payment you never received. This missing payment may have been lost in the mail and forgotten about, the result of an error that blocked an online payment, or simply never sent at all, and searching for unclaimed money can help you figure out what happened and get your money. Some of the most common types of unclaimed money include:

  • Missing paychecks or rent deposits
  • Insurance payments or refunds
  • Refunds from overpayments
  • Missing checks or travelers checks
  • Annuities
  • Trust fund distributions
  • Missing payments from online sales, gig work, or other online transactions
  • Contents of closed checking or savings accounts
  • Contents of accounts you forgot you had

How to Search for Unclaimed Money

The specific process of searching for unclaimed money varies from state to state, but most states have a relatively simple online search process that is available for anyone to use. Whether you know you have money somewhere and are not sure how to get it back or are simply curious about whether you could potentially have the right to funds you were not aware of, your state’s treasury department is usually your best starting point for searching for unclaimed money.

You can generally find this department on your state’s official website and even specifically enter unclaimed money in the site’s search bar to quickly find what you are looking for. From there, you will need to enter a few basic pieces of information to let the search engine know whose money you are searching for. This feature can then quickly scan several sources for money that may be connected to your bank account, address, social security number, or other personal details.

Other options for searching for unclaimed money that your state’s treasury department may not have found include:

  • Public data sources
  • Outreach events
  • National searches

How to Claim Unclaimed Money

Claiming your unclaimed money may also look slightly different from state to state, but you will generally need to file a claim to access your money or other unclaimed property. Once you locate your unclaimed money through a data search, outreach event, or other search option, you will typically be provided with contact information for getting in touch with the person or organization that can help you get your money back. The details of this process may vary depending on whether your unclaimed money is at the personal, local, state, or national level.

Avoiding Losing Track of Money in the Future

Although you or someone in your life will usually be able to get unclaimed money back with a relatively simple search and basic paperwork, taking steps to avoid losing track of your money in the future can be much more helpful than knowing how to find it. While organizations typically cannot refuse to give you your money, proving that it is yours can be more difficult than you might expect, and avoiding losing access to it in the first place is a much better use of your time and resources. Some of the most important steps you can take to avoid unclaimed money in the future include keeping your accounts and any personal information connected to them current and maintaining thorough records of every transaction you make and where that money goes.

Realizing that you are missing some of your money can be frustrating, but you have plenty of options for searching for, locating, and claiming your unclaimed money.

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