As crazy as it sounds, it's pretty easy to forget about or even lose track of your money, especially for those of us into the manufactured spend and credit card churning hobbies (which is probably everybody that's reading this). You've created multiple checking and brokerage accounts, applied for credit cards across all of the banks, and bought way too many gift cards - all in the name of points and miles.
From time to time it's always fun to shake out the couch cushions and see what falls out. In college that was usually enough for a pizza or two. So it also makes complete sense to shake out the virtual couch cushions, which is where Missing Money and Unclaimed.org can help.
The concept is simple enough - enter your name and see if you have unclaimed property that is now in possession by the state. Why would you have unclaimed property? Most of the time it's because someone sent you you something, typically money, at a prior or incorrect address. Your property was subsequently returned to the sender which at a later point is then transferred to the state if still unclaimed.
That's what happened for both myself and my dad when we tried Missing Money. After punching in my information, the search came back to show that I had several hundred dollars in an account sitting in Pennsylvania. I had to do some digging, but ultimately came to the conclusion that this was a dividend payment from a stock I owned nearly a decade ago in a now-terminated brokerage account. The brokerage company presumably tried to send the dividend check to me, but the address registered with them was likely out-of-date and ultimately the money came to be in possession of the state.
A similar situation for my dad, who had about $100 in rebates being held in California across a combination of retailers as well as his wireless carrier. Again, likely that the rebate checks were sent to an old address and therefore went unclaimed. Nothing out there for my wife or anyone else in my family.
The process to claim your money is easy. When I clicked through my search result on the Missing Money website, it took me the State of Pennsylvania's Treasury website for lost and unclaimed property. I double-checked that this was the official website, since I was still a bit skeptical at this point. From there, I was able to file an official claim form which needed to be completed and mailed in. Because the amount was over $100, I also needed to get my form notarized.
Unclaimed.org is a similar website as Missing Money, but does not provide multi-state search abilities. Therefore, you'll need to go through and search state-by-state. As a starting point it's certainly easy enough to search in your current home state and any other states where you've previously resided.
I'll admit that when I first heard about this I was very skeptical - in this day and age of internet scams you really need to be careful when giving out your personal information. But having gone through the process I can vouch that it's completely legitimate and was more than happy to reclaim several hundred dollars of mine that I didn't even know were out there!
Anyone else have luck finding unclaimed money?