You might be one of the millions of Americans who has unclaimed funds sitting in an account just waiting for you to find it. When you set up your nest, you changed your address and, possibly, got married and changed your name. These changes often lead to you not receiving government refunds, inheritances and other mailed funds. Senders must turn over unclaimed funds to the state, which gives it to the rightful owner after he makes a claim.
National Association of Unclaimed Property (NAUPA)
Click on a state's link on the NAUPA website to go to the unclaimed property division's website for that state. Look on the state's page for the link that allows you to search the state's database to see if the state is holding money that belongs to you. For example, if you click on California the California State Controller's Office webpage will open. Click on "Start Your Search" and select whether you are an individual, business or want to search by the property's identification number. If you are searching as an individual, enter your last name and optional information and click "Search."
MissingMoney.com works with NAUPA and participating states to help you locate your missing funds. Visit the site and enter your last name and residence state. You can enter your first name, but it's not required. Click "Go." Unlike the individual state unclaimed fund searches, MissingMoney.com searches all of the states that report to the company at once. So if you have unclaimed funds in Alabama, Florida and Idaho, they will all show in your search results. Be aware that some states such as California and Hawaii do not report to MissingMoney.com, so you must search some states using the state's website.
If you or your partners changed jobs and forgot to transfer or cash in your 401(k), visit the National Registry to search for your money. Enter your Social Security number on the secured site and click "Next Step." If the database contains a match, you receive the contact information for your former employer. If there is no match, the company advises you to check back later to see if an employer has reported the unclaimed funds. If the company is closed, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) allows you to search for your retirement account by the company or pension plan name.
Some companies offer to find your unclaimed funds for a fee for doing searches you or your partner can do freely in your spare time. Other websites to search include the "Where's my Refund?" page maintained by the Internal Revenue Service and TreasuryDirect's website where you can search for old savings bonds that no longer earn interest. The Federal Deposit Insurance Company maintains a website you can use to search for funds from failed banks and, if your credit union failed, the National Credit Union Association maintains a list of individuals with unclaimed accounts.
- NAUPA: Start Your Free Search for Money That Might Be Due You
- MissingMoney.com: Start Your Free Governmental Search For Missing Money
- National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits: Are You Looking for Unclaimed Retirement Benefits
- Internal Revenue Service: Where's My Refund?
- TreasuryDirect: Treasury Hunt
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Unclaimed Funds
- National Credit Union Administration
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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