You're not alone if you can't find that savings bond Aunt Clara gave you for your sixth birthday. In 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of Public Debt held nearly 45 million lost, undeliverable and forgotten U.S. savings bonds that had reached maturity but had not been redeemed. The Bureau helps you locate and recover your missing investment through its TreasuryDirect website and written requests.
Gather as much information about your bonds as possible. According to Kiplinger.com, the more information you can provide, the better the odds for getting a replacement. When was the bond issued? Even if Aunt Clara doesn't remember when she bought your bond, you can estimate the time period as "between February 1981 and May 1983," for example. Other helpful facts include the purchaser's Social Security number, the face value of the bond, who had access to it and when you last saw it.
The TreasuryDirect website contains the Treasury Hunt tool to locate bonds that have matured. You enter the Social Security number of either the purchaser or the receiver to do a search. The tool's database only contains records of Series E bonds issued since 1974 and Series EE bonds with issue dates beginning in 1980. Periodic checks may prove successful because the Bureau updates the database as bonds reach maturity.
When you've found a bond, the Treasury Hunt system prompts you to submit a claim. According to ABCNews, two-thirds of claimants fail to give contact information needed for the claim to proceed, so it's important to provide full information. Someone from Treasury will confirm that you are entitled to the uncashed bond and either send you a form to complete, or tell you which one to download from the TreasuryDirect site. The claim form must be certified, at a bank, credit union or brokerage firm before you submit it. Certification involves showing photo identification to a designated official and signing the form in his presence. His subsequent signature and the stamp or official seal he adds verify you as the claimant. You may choose replacement, redemption or conversion to an electronic bond to keep in a TreasuryDirect account you open. Replacement bonds carry the original date of issue.
When your bond doesn't show up in a Treasury Hunt search, you must submit Form 1048: Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds, which you can download from the TreasuryDirect website. Use the information you pulled together to fill out the form. Take your completed form -- and photo identification -- to a financial institution, not a Notary Public, for certification. An official at the bank or credit union will verify your identity, witness your signature, place an identifying stamp or seal on the form, and sign it. The Department of Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt address for mailing depends on the type of bond. Claims for Series H and HH bonds go to P. O. Box 2186, Parkersburg, West Virginia 26106-2186; send Series E, EE and I bond claims to P. O. Box 7012, Parkersburg, West Virginia 26106-7012.
As of January 1, 2012, the U.S. Treasury replaced paper bonds purchased at banks with electronic bonds. However, taxpayers can still buy Series I paper bonds using their federal income tax refund and get them through the mail. Should a bond you purchased this way never arrive in your mailbox, you can request a duplicate. Use form 3062-4 -- Claim for United States Savings Bonds Not Received. Either download it from TreasuryDirect.gov, or call the Federal Reserve's toll-free number -- 1-800-553-2663 -- to have one mailed to you. If your missing bond is less than a year old, you can receive a replacement, but not payment.
- ABCNews: Unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds - Questions and Answers
- TreasuryDirect: Forms; PDF 1048 Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds
- TreasuryDirect: Treasury Hunt
- TreasuryDirect: EE/E Savings Bonds FAQs
- TreasuryDirect: Replacing or Reissuing EE or I Bonds
- TreasuryDirect: News; Public Debt Aids Savings Bond Owners in States Affected by Recent Tornadoes
- TreasuryDirect: Press Room FAQs
- TreasuryDirect: Forms; PDF 3062-4 Claim for United States Savings Bonds Not Received
- Kiplinger: How to Find a Lost Savings Bond
- TreasuryDirect: Using Your Income Tax Refund to Save By Buying Series I U.S. Savings Bonds
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
- How Do I Change the Owner of HH Saving Bonds?
- How to Reissue U.S. Savings Bonds
- Difference Between Series E Bonds & Series H Bonds
- How to Get an Antique Bearer Bond Authenticated
- How to Find the Status of a WWII Bond
- How to Transfer a Series EE Bond to a New Owner
- Can US Savings Bonds Be Purchased Without Refund Money?
- What Happens When a Bond Reaches Maturity?