EPISODE 47~ FIND YOURS: Unclaimed Money Heroes: Why Some People Search for Missing Money For Others

For all the thousands of people who never search for their unclaimed money and don’t even realize it’s legitimate, there is always somebody who’s fascinated by this missing money, searches for others, and tries to let them in on the good news. This “do gooder” trend is our featured “find yours” segment for this episode. My guest is Steve Mondros of New Jersey who has been interested in unclaimed money ever since he was a kid. Welcome, Steve!

How did you first hear about unclaimed money and what sparked your interest?
in 6th grade, our teacher gave us Reader’s Digests with an article about a company called Tracers, Inc. -how I got interested-then I saw that the local papers had annual advertisements with name lists-that did it!

Have you ever found unclaimed money for yourself or your own family?  
My wife and I

If so, how much money was it, what business was it from, and how did it get lost?
seven thousand for me-from my employer at the time-from a stock option-I had moved, gave them my new address, but they sent my money to my old address.$155 for my wife from a hospital-she was in a nursing home, they sent the money to her there after she had gone home.

When did you first start searching for unclaimed money for other people?
I looked in the newspaper ads starting in the 1980’s, then tried looking for charities, hospitals, etc, around 1999.

What was your goal with your searches?
I was hoping to be a 1-man charity operation.  Completely non-profit for me. It’s great to be Santa Claus by proxy!

Tell me some of the colleges and schools you have searched for and what you found.
 Just about every college has money-I’ve contacted a few-1 college, in Philly, got 18 thousand.

You have also searched for hospitals.  That’s a great idea.  What are some of the most interesting unclaimed money accounts you found for them?
Probably every hospital has money, but since most don’t collect the money-they just refer the info to another department, I’ve not done much contacting lately.

How do you contact these groups to share the good news and how do they respond? 
I send the printouts and explain that I don’t want any of the money and ask them to Google the websites/phone numbers to show that they are legit.  Most either ignore me or turn the info over to their legal/financial/accounting departments.

Have any of the groups you’ve found money for actually followed up and cashed in?
A few charities/schools/etc have collected their money.  
 I had some success with a bunch of places in the late 1990’s-and a few last year,

Associations were another of your targets.  And there’s one in particular that you’ve been trying and trying to reach with the good news with no luck.  Tell us that story.
I’m a member of AARP-and one of their magazines has an article about how people can collect unclaimed money-so I\’ve emailed, called, written-no response from them-in PA alone, the state site can only list their first 400 accounts-and then they ask me for contributions.

You contacted me for help because you know I’ve covered unclaimed money at ABC News, then at the Washington Post and now here on Easy Money.  Tell my listeners what you wanted help with.
If you have any ideas-or contacts with any charities, organizations-ideas about why I get no response, please let me know.  Thank you!

Way back on episode 5 I interviewed a teenage girl who does sometihng similar to what you’ve been trying to do.  She finds unclaimed money for charities.  The way she lets them know is by emailing them a screen shot of the unclaimed money listing, rather than asking them to click a link to see it, since people are so worried about clicking scammy links.  But, other than that, I don’t have any magic solution.  So I want to crowdsource your dilemma.  Dear Easy Money listeners: Please, folks, send me ideas for how Steve can share good news about unclaimed money with various worthy groups WITHOUT them thinking it’s a scam.  Please go to EasyMoneyShow.com and leave me a voicemail on the home page.  Or email me from the contact page.  I look forward to your smart ideas.  Meanwhile, Steve, since you know I write for the Washington Post, you looked the newspaper up too.  What did you find?
The Post has multiple unclaimed money accounts, in DC and elsewhere. 
Please go to www.unclaimed.org and click on the Delaware site and Search for Washington Post. Delaware has money for places/people worldwide. Then, go to www.missingmoney.com  and create a free account and do profiles for Washington Post, Post Washington and The Washington Post. that site doesn’t list every state (not DE) but many. 

You’ve got some advanced tips for searching for unclaimed money that even I had never heard. I’m going to state the tip and you explain it, OK?
•Using newspapers.com:
I can see ads dating back to 1920…

•Searching older records:
some states don’t have older records online-PA, NY, NJ… call and ask for a complete search.

•And what about searching in foreign countries?
Canada, Kenya, Australia, UK (some) and NZ all have sites..

How many unclaimed money accounts would you say you’ve found for people and groups in all?

And what percentage of those would you say have listened to you and claimed their money?
Maybe 20, 30 have collected…

Therein lies the problem! Unclaimed money is real. So much so that I devote a third of every Easy Money podcast to it. And it’s OUR money, not the government’s money, so somehow we need to educate people to search and claim what’s theirs.

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