HALEY, HOW DID YOU FIRST LEARN ABOUT UNCLAIMED MONEY?
I was 16 and in the kitchen with my Dad and I heard ad for find Mass Money. I had never heard about this before. I looked it up and saw there was over $2 billion in Massachusetts alone that was unclaimed.
SO YOU STARTED SEARCHING FOR UNCLAIMED MONEY FOR PEOPLE YOU KNEW AND THEN FOR TOTAL STRANGERS. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND ON THIS AND WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART?
In terms of time I probably spend between 5 or 10 hours a week. I go online and search in Texas and California. They show the amounts of the claims so it is easier for me to reach out to people.
You can put in a name and search for individual or search for business or company. You have to enter it into a search bar. That is one tough part. Finding companies and individuals to search for. Started by looking up companies and non profits and charities and family and friends I know. It escalated from there.
GIVE ME SOME EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE AND COMPANIES AND AMOUNTS YOU HAVE FOUND FOR THEM.
—I have found money for are Boston Global Village – a car company close to where I live. Amount:
— headsets.com. Amount:
—And family friend I found $6,000 for.
— One that was interesting to me was that I found a claim for $45,000 in Texas for a professor who now lives in Australia. Someone who doesn’t live in the US can also have unclaimed property and makes me think how many people don’t know they even have money.
— There are two others I identified recently – one for $130,000 and another for $240,000 – one was a financial company and for Xerox.
— A lot are life insurance. Checks sent to the wrong person or address so got lost. Utility bills.D
YOU HAVE TURNED THIS “WIN” INTO A “WIN-WIN.” EXPLAIN HOW YOU USE UNCLAIMED MONEY TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CHARITY.
I was in a student organization working with a literacy charity and we were having a hard time raising money so I thought it would be a cool idea to see if I could start a charity based on unclaimed money. I was 17 when I incorporated the charity and got 501 c status. Found Money Charity.
When I contact people and businesses I ask that if they collect the unclaimed funds I identify for them, that they either donate to FMC (in which case FMC will, in turn, donate to the three charities it supports) or that they donate directly to the three charities FMC supports.
It means a lot to me. For a long time I have been connected to these organizations so it is exciting to raise money for them and know I can support them. Going off to college I want to keep this up.
HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE YOU RAISED SO FAR?
Found Money Charity helped Headsets.com collect approximately $9,000 in unclaimed funds in California. Headsets.com then donated $1,000 directly to FMC – which FMC has divided evenly among the three charities.
FMC identified $3,000 of unclaimed funds in Texas for Boston Volvo. After Boston Volvo collected that money, it provided me with three checks – each for $500 made out to each of the three charities (Dana Farber, Cradles to Crayons and Brookline Literacy Partnership), and I delivered those to the three charities.
Then Lishan Aklog (an individual) collected the $6,000 in unclaimed funds that FMC identified for him (in New York State). He generously chose to donate all of that money by sending me three $2,000 checks to each of the three charities, which I then delivered to them.
So the total FMC has raised is $8,500 so far – but I am hoping and expecting to raise substantially more relatively soon.
I KNOW FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT IT CAN BE HARD TO SHARE THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT PEOPLE’S FOUND MONEY, BECAUSE THEY DON’T BELIEVE YOU! HAS THAT BEEN A CHALLENGE?
I think sometimes people don’t trust it. I don’t know if my emails go into spam folder. I think the process for collecting a claim can also be a really long process. Not that it takes too much effort. You submit forms state needs but can drag on for a few months and that may deter people.
If there is a big claim or someone who I recognize I try to find a way to contact them by email or letter. I write and introduce myself and tell them about the cause and what I am trying to do. I give them a screen shot but I know some might say it is a scam but I give them link and tell them to search and give them the link to my website.
YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED A TOTAL OF MORE THAN 3 MILLION DOLLARS FOR PEOPLE. SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING. LET’S GIVE OUR LISTENERS SOME EXPERT TIPS FOR SEARCHING FOR THEIR OWN UNCLAIMED MONEY. YOU SAY SEARCH EVEN IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER LOSING ANY MONEY.
Don’t think you shouldn’t search just because you don’t remember losing money. Could be electrical bills or cell phone carriers you just don’t know about.
YOUR SECOND TIP: LOOK UP ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS OF YOUR NAME.
Look up maiden names and common misspellings. I see that a lot. Also try putting your first name in the last name box and last name in the first name box. Finally try just using your last name.
THIRD: SEARCH IN STATES WHERE YOU USED TO LIVE.
Search in states where you used to live or went to college or moved or changed addresses. Also search in states where companies you have done business with are headquartered because sometimes unclaimed money is held where the company is located rather than where you are located.
FOURTH, YOU REMIND PEOPLE TO SEARCH THE NAMES OF LOVED ONES WHO HAVE DIED.
Also search for family members and for those who have passed away. I found a few like life insurance for people who passed away.
AND FINAL TIP, YOU POINT OUT THAT SOME CITIES AND TOWNS HAVE THEIR OWN UNCLAIMED MONEY POTS, SO PEOPLE SHOULD LOOK INTO THAT TOO.
Some towns and cities have their own lists. Mostly I look at treasury lists from states but have found towns and cities that have their own list so look there too. Might be smaller amounts of money.