1 in 10 People in the U.S. Have Missing Money. Here’s How to Claim Yours.

Hey money lovers!!! I just learned about an AWESOME website that helps you find unclaimed money that is owed to you! Maybe this is old news for some of you, but this is the first time I’d ever heard of it.

Searching last night I found more than four hundred dollars in missing funds and payments for some of my friends and family!!! (Sorry for all the exclamation marks, I’m just so excited about this!!! 🤯)

Here’s the main site — missingmoney.com — but first let me explain what it is and how it works…

Unclaimed Property a.k.a. Missing Money.

You know how sometimes when you close a bank account or switch service providers, there’s an unsettled positive balance left over in your account? Typically it’s a small credit, like a refund from overpayment, or pro rata interest that was never paid to you.

Anyway, when this happens, first the company will try to pay you the credit. They might send you an email or letter saying you have an unsettled positive balance, or maybe they’ll post you a small refund check.

Even if it’s only a tiny amount, like $0.16, legally it’s your money and the company is not allowed to just keep it.

Now, let’s say the bank or company has reached out to you multiple times over the years and cannot get a hold of you for whatever reason. Or maybe the refund check is so small that you throw it away or never cash it … at this point the money will be transferred to the government and held as “unclaimed property.”

Apparently 1 in 10 people have money owed to them!!! These missing money amounts, although mostly small, add up to an INSANE amount of money each year. Like, billions and billions of dollars in total.

Each U.S. state maintains its own ledger of outstanding credits owed to citizens and has a treasury department website set up for you to find money and claim it! You just search your name in the database, and submit a claim. So easy! You can money owed to you that you never even knew about.

How to Find YOUR Missing Money

The best way is to search within your specific state website. Here’s a list of all the sites — just click your state and search your name.

ALAKAZARCACOCTDEDCFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPRPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWY  (Canada, see here)

It’s important to search within each state you have ever lived in or had service in. You might have outstanding credits from decades ago when you lived somewhere else. There is a way to search multiple states at the same time — missingmoney.com — BUT, not all states participate in the group search results, so I recommend searching individually on the specific state treasury websites above.

Once you’ve finished searching your name, try your friends, siblings, parents, neighbors, or anyone you know! Like I mentioned, I found about $400 in payments owed to my neighbors and siblings, who are in the process of reclaiming it. Now they owe me beers for finding them money they didn’t even know existed! 🍺🍺

How Does Money Go Missing in the First Place?

You might be thinking that you’re fully on top of your finances and that there’s no way you’d have an outstanding credit you don’t know about… But, you’d be surprised how many ways people can have credits owed to them. 

Here are some common ones:

  • You switch TV, Internet, phone, electricity or utility providers and move to another address. If there’s an outstanding credit on the old account and they don’t know how to contact you, they transfer the money to the state. (These companies don’t try very hard to find you, especially if it’s only a few dollars.)
  • If you close a bank account, credit card, brokerage account, etc. and there’s a positive balance that is never paid out, you have money owed to you.
  • You buy or sell a house, and the escrow company finds an excess pro-rata payment from tax/interest/mortgage or whatever that needs to be refunded. They might accidentally send the refund check to the wrong or old address and it never gets cashed.
  • A company sends you a refund check that you never cash, or it gets lost. They may transfer that money to the state to get it off of their books.
  • A relative dies and the state doesn’t know who to give property or funds to.
  • You pay a security deposit for something, the money is held in escrow and when it comes time to pay you back, your bank info has changed. If you never notice the missing money, the escrow people may just transfer it to the state.
  • You cut ties with a bank and forget to empty your safety deposit box… The contents are transferred to and held by the state.

It’s completely free to search for and claim your lost property. Technically, the state treasury department is just acting as a custodian over your money until you claim it.

There’s Sooooo Much Missing Money Out There!!

Most payment amounts are small, but they all add up! Here are some fun facts I found looking at some of these state websites…

– In Connecticut, 13 people have more than $500,000 of unclaimed money! Actually, it looks like 10,000 people have more than $10,000 in unclaimed funds. 😳 WOW.

If you know anyone in Connecticut, forward this email or post and help me find these lucky individuals! They are walking around with winning lottery tickets and don’t even know it. 🤑

New York by far has the highest amount of missing money. It’s over $16 billion in unclaimed funds for the state, which if it was split up evenly across the 20 million residents, that’s about $800 per person. 💰💰💰

– In Idaho, they’ve already paid out $1.2 million since Jan 1 of this year! Woohoo! But, that’s only scratching the surface of the $120+ million that the state is holding for people! 🧐

– The California state website is fun if you want to waste some time putting celebrity names into the search bar. Not sure why Al Pacino hasn’t claimed his $27.50 yet… I should text him and let him know! 

– If you live in Nevada and put $1 on the roulette table, your chances of winning are 1 in 37. But if you put your name into the NV lost property database instead (for free) your chances of finding owed money is probably like 1 in 10! Nevada is holding $830 million for past and current residents that probably don’t even know it! 🎲🎲

– In Hawaii, instead of refunding residents in U.S. dollars, the state decided to pay everyone in the form of coconuts 🥥🌴.  Just kidding, I made this up. But on a serious note, Hawaii is one of the smarter states… They implemented a rule starting in 2024 that any unclaimed funds less than $100 will become the property of the state if not claimed within 10 years. So for all y’all Hawaii peeps…. go claim your money asap!

Good luck, everyone! Let me know what you find!?

Have a great weekend and 💝 Happy Valentines Day 💝 this Sunday!

Love, Joel

*****

BTW – most of these state sites only require first name and last name to search. But if you’re filing a claim, you’ll obviously need more information to prove you are who you say you are. Needless to say, if you are submitting a claim, please be careful of any personal information you share over the Internet!! Make sure you’re following the state process and not posting to a fraudulent website or something that steals your identity.

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18 Comments

  1. The Millennial Money Woman February 12, 2021 at 5:41 AM

    Joel –

    This was such an awesome post to read. I searched to see if I had any missing money… but turns out I was in “luck” and didn’t have any money to claim. I’ve seen advertisements of this type of service before and I think it’s great that you wrote an article about it – and found $400 missing dollars!!

    What a way to start the weekend :)

    Cheers,

    Fiona

    Reply
    1. Joel February 12, 2021 at 6:44 PM

      Yeah this has been so fun! I’m getting a bunch of email replies from people who are finding good amounts of money today. I should keep track – we might collectively hit over $10k!

      Have a great weekend Fiona!
      Joel

      Reply
  2. TD February 12, 2021 at 11:21 AM

    Be sure to check for funds owed to people who have died, too. If you’re the heir, you can claim them. I found $50 to $100 owed to my dad, who died a while ago. If my mom (the heir) sends in some documents proving her relationship to him, that’s a bit of extra money in her pocket.

    And I found $16.20 under my own name, probably related to a bank account I had in grad school. I had to prove that I used to live at the address listed in the unclaimed property database — good thing I saved my apartment lease from 17 years ago (even though my financial paperwork hoarding drives my husband nuts!).

    Reply
    1. Joel February 12, 2021 at 12:17 PM

      AWESOME! Yes a lot of this missing money is from way back when you couldn’t cash mobile checks with cell phones and it was harder to refund people. Check your parents, grand parents and passed relatives just in case :)

      Reply
  3. Paul February 12, 2021 at 12:29 PM

    Thanks for the link!
    Turns out I had $39.71 in Hawaii from an old internet service provider.
    Because it’s under $50 there is no need to notarize the claim form.

    Reply
    1. Joel February 12, 2021 at 6:42 PM

      Awesome! FREE money! Well, not really free, but money that you otherwise didn’t know about! Good to know about the claim process. I’m hearing that every state is different to claim. but in general, it’s fairly easy!

      Reply
  4. Steveark February 12, 2021 at 3:48 PM

    When my dad passed away I did a search a couple of years later and found that there were over $1,600 in dividends from a natural gas company sitting there. It took a little paper work by me and my brother but we each ended up getting half of the money. So I can attest that it really works!

    Reply
    1. Joel February 12, 2021 at 6:38 PM

      Thanks Steve! My friend just found 1 share of Microsoft is owed to him from an old brokerage. That’s like $250 (and it’s been paying dividends too!) haha.

      Have a great weekeend!
      Joel

      Reply
  5. Susanne February 12, 2021 at 4:47 PM

    Checked it out and found claims for both me AND my husband. Woohoo! Thanks for the heads up, I’m sharing this post with all my friends and family.

    Reply
    1. Joel February 12, 2021 at 6:36 PM

      Awesome! I’ve been getting a ton of email replies from people with really good amounts owed to them. This is so cool!

      Reply
      1. Susanne February 22, 2021 at 2:11 PM

        Turns out my claim was for less than a dollar, but my husband’s was $800. We received the check and deposited it today!

        Reply
        1. Joel February 22, 2021 at 2:40 PM

          $800!!! Biggest I’ve heard of so far. Nice!

          Reply
  6. Impersonal Finances February 15, 2021 at 2:29 AM

    Pretty awesome you just made some people a few hundred bucks simply by posting this haha. Didn’t turn up anything for me but these are great links to keep handy for future reference and to pass along to friends.

    Reply
    1. Joel February 15, 2021 at 10:12 AM

      One of the coolest things about blogging is seeing people save/make/realize money instantly from something you write. I still can’t believe there’s that much money just sitting out there unclaimed!

      Reply
  7. Jen Hun February 16, 2021 at 10:01 PM

    An apartment I lived in back in 2009 owed me $102 and some change. I had no idea. Now to wait to see what the state needs of me so I can actually get the money lol

    Reply
    1. Joel February 17, 2021 at 11:52 AM

      SWEEEEET!!! Let me know how easy the process is. Some people have said it’s just an easy form and ID photo, others say it varies depending on the amount claimed.

      Reply
  8. Amelia @ TheUsefulRoot July 18, 2021 at 2:29 PM

    Thanks for this Joel! My husband filed his claims and are now $280 richer! Sweet!

    Reply
    1. Joel July 19, 2021 at 9:34 AM

      AWESOME!!!! That’s exactly why I wrote this post! There are millions of dollars out there that should be in all our pockets!! Congrats and have a great week!

      Reply

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