I’m happy to say that this week’s “Find Yours” blog came from one of you. Let’s check it out.
Hi, this is Patrick in California. I got a letter in the mail saying I am owed unclaimed money and this company can claim it for me. I don’t want to pay them a percentage, but I have no idea where the unclaimed money is, so I feel like I may have to. What should I do?”
Thanks for bringing up such an important unclaimed money topic, Patrick! The letter you received was from what we call a “finder” and I don’t think you should EVER have to pay a Finder for access to your own money. These are opportunists who try to profit from other people’s unclaimed money by finding their accounts and asking for a cut. The good news is that finders are usually only interested in good-sized amounts of money, so you may have a nice nest egg waiting out there for you somewhere.
If the Finder told you the amount of money you are owed, they either found the money in California or Texas, which are the only states that publish the amounts people are owed right online. OR they submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to some other state and got a list of names and amounts of unclaimed money that way. Many states will divulge that information in response to a FOIA request.
OK, deep breath, here’s what you do. You search the way I always suggest you search: First you check the website MissingMoney.com, which automatically searches its 40 member states for you. Then, if you don’t find the money there, you check unclaimed.org (remember, .org) and check the other 10 states that don’t participate with MissingMoney. As a reminder, those states are: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, South Carolina and Wyoming. Remember, sometimes the money is held where the company is based or incorporated, rather than where you live, so it can be important to check those 10 states even if you’ve never set foot in them. Keep checking until you find your money.