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Have You Claimed YOUR Millions Yet?

by J. Money on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

unclaimed money header

You probably already know about this stuff already, but just in case I’m gonna shoot you a reminder in hopes you’re a lot luckier than I am ;) Every dang time I get excited that perhaps I “forgot” a million dollars somewhere too, only to walk away feeling depressed and wondering why I just wasted 2 hours of my life, haha… Why don’t I deserve some of that free money for doing nothing ??

If I’ve completely lost you, I’m talking about the billions and billions of dollars unclaimed out there just waiting to be sent to their rightful homes. Things like forgotten bank accounts, pay checks, dividends, tax refunds, etc etc. Scattered across the entire country and probably pissing off a lot of accountants just hating that there’s money outstanding, haha… it would drive me crazy too! I hate it when people don’t cash my checks in a timely manner, as if it’s completely rude to do so. It’s not! It’s rude to WAIT weeks and months (even years!!) to cash those dang things – quit it! But I digress…

unclaimed money graphic

I’m reminded of all this today ‘cuz of a nifty infographic sent to my email by the fine folks at People Finders. Who sorted through the stats to pump out some pretty amazing factoids. Things like:

  • The total unclaimed is $37+ billion dollars
  • California and Texas are two of the biggest states with missing money over $1.5 BILLION alone. (It’s too bad California can’t use some of that to get out of debt, eh? Or maybe they can??)
  • If your name ends in Smith, Johnson, Lee, Brown,Williams, Jones, or Garcia, the odds are in your favor you have some unclaimed ;) Especially if it’s “Smith” who has claims on over 90,000 units of property/money valued at almost $13 Million alone.  And that’s only in California and Texas.

It also shares the most common sources of this lost money too, some of which are (in order of highest to lowest):

  • Savings, Checking, Certificates of deposit, Interest
  • Insurance matured, Payout, Refund
  • Outstanding Checks, Drafts
  • Refunds, Rebates
  • Court Settlements, Awards
  • Mineral Royalty

Why does this money go unclaimed?

It’s not listed in the infographic, but if I were a betting man I’d put my money on some of these:

  • Original owner died – new owner doesn’t know he/she is owed anything
  • Original owner is incapacitated in some way
  • Original owner sucks at managing stuff
  • Original owner sucks at remembering anything
  • Original owner doesn’t feel it’s worth their time to go out and get it… Maybe they don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day? (Linda Evangelista anyone?) Or they hate pennies and a billion + people only have change in their accounts and thus never bother with it?

Who knows why people don’t pick up their money… Either way they’re stupid :) And if I had the authority to go in and rack it all up, I’d totally go for it and then throw a big ass party and give all the rest away to the less fortunate – a la Robin Hood. Even if it’s not worth YOUR time, it sure is to others in $hittier situations. Know what I’m saying?

So, the takeaway today? Make 100% sure you don’t have money laying anywhere, and if you do, go and grab it and then give it all away, haha… Or save it and go treat your family to a nice dinner out at Applebee’s (Unless you’re owed like $1,000+. In that case, you can graciously thank me for giving you the kick in the pants and split it with me 50/50 – it’s only fair ;))

Where to start your million dollar search:

Try these guys first:

And then just Google the crap out of it until you exhaust all avenues (and yourself). The last time I ran the search was 3 years ago myself, and there’s no way in hell I’m doing it again for another $0.00 :)  But then again, if you find a nice jackpot?? Easiest money of your life! So I definitely urge you to at least try it out once and make yourself feel better.  Someone’s owed those billions!

Anyone already claim some? Anyone know of anyone ELSE who’s ever claimed some?? I still have yet to hear a success story out there from any of my friends or family, but would love for you to help change that.  So keep me posted!

———-
Big thanks again to People Finders for today’s blog topic and graphics too – I owe you one… Or perhaps some of my future unclaimed money :)


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 William @ Drop Dead Money September 25, 2012 at 6:58 am

Yep, this is real – we got a few K a couple years ago from this.

My wife worked at a tech company in California for several years ago, and they had a discounted employee stock purchase program. This was in the late nineties — the tech bubble years. The bubble burst, the stock crashed, and we left it for dead and forgot about it in the move to Colorado.

We don’t know how they tracked us down but they did. Turns out the stock recovered in the meantime to just about what the missus paid for it. So we were able to sell it without any taxable gain and use the proceeds to fund one year’s IRA contribution… after holding out $100 for a lovely steak dinner! Just had to celebrate, know what I mean? :)

That was nice.

Have you ever picked a dime or a quarter on the sidewalk? What’s the first thing you do? You keep looking down for another one, don’t you? I’m just like you — hit the internet and looked to see if there was anything else of ours that we had forgotten about. Nothing else.

But it was a nice little windfall.

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2 Ashley September 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

I found my mom on one of those sites but she’s afraid to do it because she thinks the government may try to come after her for other things she might owe…and no…she’s not a crazy paranoid recluse.

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3 Lance @ Money Life and More September 25, 2012 at 7:08 am

I was about to say I didn’t know anyone who ever found anything this way then William chimes in that he found a couple thousand… so I guess I do know someone who got some money this way… but just one person! The younger you are the less likely you’d find something I’d think… unless your parents forgot to tell you about something.

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4 Chris September 25, 2012 at 7:12 am

Haha just found my older brother. Apparently, the state of New Mexico owes him ~$100! Haven’t spoke to him in a couple years so maybe this will convince him to hang out with his little brother! And take him out for some crab legs maybe? Btw, that site was super easy to use. I’ll admit I was skeptical that it even worked.

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5 Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies September 25, 2012 at 7:43 am

We used missingmoney.com a few months ago. It only took a few minutes (not hours), and got a couple hundred bucks. There’s a couple hundred more out there in Mr. PoP’s name, but for that state we need a form notarized to get it and that’s a pain in the butt so we’ve been putting it off.
I’d say it’s worth the couple of minutes to check at least.

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6 Katy September 25, 2012 at 7:54 am

I used missing money about 2 years ago. I never cashed a pay check while I was in college is was tiny so I guess I forgot about it. It was about $60 was worth the time to fill out the form send it in. I received a check from the state in about a week.

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7 Lynn September 25, 2012 at 8:19 am

I found over $400.00 from my last employer. The paperwork is a little bit of a pain but in 6-8 weeks I had my check. I am still not sure what the money was from.

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8 Brian September 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

For Indiana residents the website to check is indianaunclaimed.com. I check it every now and again. I was able to claim $150 from a paycheck I somehow never got when I was a teenager (which is odd since I had direct deposit with that employer).

I was also able to help my dad claim some money from my grandparent’s estate (not a small amount either). Right now, my sister is has some money hanging out there, and so does my mom.

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9 Sean @ One Smart Dollar September 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

I checked a few years ago and I was not one of the lucky ones. Right about now with a new baby on the way, I could always use some free money :-)

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10 Erin September 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

No luck for me :( But I am pretty sure I still have a bank account open that I haven’t looked at in years, because it has about $5 in it. I should do something about that.

Someone with the same name as me in Texas sure has a lot of money out there…

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11 Alexis September 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

I did this a couple of years ago after an article about it in Money magazine, and came away with about $50 from some insurance refund that I never knew about in a state I hadn’t lived in in 10 years! It took a few minutes to fill out the paperwork and whatnot, but was definitely worth it.

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12 Ashley September 25, 2012 at 9:26 am

I found around $300 doing the same thing as Alexis as above, although the paperwork took us around 4 hrs and the company we did it through actually recovered closer to $800 but they had $500 in various fees.

But hey, we wouldn’t have found anything without them so can’t complain too much!

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13 Kara September 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

I have $89 floating around somewhere in Texas, but the reason I can’t claim it is that they want proof of my address at the time to verify that it’s me. The address they have listed for me was a transitional address when I was moving from Oregon back to Texas, before I rented a house there – I didn’t have a lease and the bills weren’t in my name. So I have no proof that matches their records, which means the $89 will go unclaimed until the end of time.

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14 Money Beagle September 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

I did a search for myself and my wife and found nothing. Sad. But on a whim, I started typing in names of close friends and family. There is something out there for a good buddy of mine. I e-mailed him and let him know and he *still* hasn’t claimed it. Probably not much as it’s a place he worked at back in high school, probably a final check or something, but it’s free money!

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15 Brent Pittman September 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I was owed restitution for a stolen i-phone and get trickle checks in small amounts until they someday equal $500. When we moved, I forgot to notify the state controller…when I finally got around to it, they sent me a whopping $47.00 check (that was a lot of smaller checks combined). I can see how money gets lost…in my case the money was delayed due to laziness and forgetfulness.

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16 G. Jones September 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I found myself but it was for 0.02, so i figure I will go ahead and let them keep that!! I did however find my mom on there a few years back for over 300.00 and it took around 8 wks or so but her check came right in and no hassle.

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17 Suzanne Cramer September 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Pretty cool I just ran a search on myself and found $76 of unclaimed money owed to me from an old homeowners policy :) Now all I have to do is get the document notarized and I’ll have “found” $75 Thank for the reminder to do this J$!!!!

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18 Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter September 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Sadly, the only unclaimed money we have laying around is less than $75 at an old job not worth fighting about. Hope others find a ton of lost cash though! Maybe I will take up that fight for a blog post though…

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19 Ellie September 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Worked for me 3 years ago. Found a state tax return that never made it to my hands, despite some effort on my part trying to find it. Sad part, I was late to work and it paid for my speeding ticket. Easy come…easy go.

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20 Jacob @ iheartbudgets September 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Nice reminder. I picked up a few hundred dollars last year from a job I quit a decade ago. Super easy to do, only took about an hour of my time. Worth it if you ask me :)

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21 debtgirl September 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Yeah, I have succumbed to this before and not only did I check for me, but for all my deceased relatives too. We all must have spent our fortunes!

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22 William @ Drop Dead Money September 26, 2012 at 1:39 am

G. Jones – that was the worth of the comments you left them… right? :)

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23 J. Money September 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

You guys are convincing me to give it another shot now, jeez… so many of you have recovered money! That’s awesome! What if I find that “J. Money” is owed some but can’t get it cuz I can’t prove it’s me?? Haha…. that would be hilarious.

Glad y’all are finding your money though – Keep searching! :)

@William @ Drop Dead Money – Wow, that’s one helluva good endorsement for these sites! So cool you guys got it back and now have a fun story to tell to people like me :) Glad it worked out, bud!
@Ashley – Haha… I feela bit weird about it all too, to be honest with you, but only cuz of the whole “giving out important info” type of deal. Especially to sites I’m not too familiar with. But I guess if you’re owed a lot of money, it’s worth it ;)
@Lance @ Money Life and More – Yup! And hopefully as you get older you become better about staying on top of things more.
@Chris – Cool! You should totally reconnect with him that way :) Then email me and let me know how it went, haha… I guess money DOES bring people together!
@Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies – Well that’s good. I’d take minutes over hours any time!
@Katy – Holy crap that’s fast. Wow. Good for you!
@Lynn – What? Really? That is still super cool though :) What did you end up doing with that $400?
@Brian – Damn. How are we all missing so much?? That’s pretty incredible… Thanks for sending out that url to your fellow Indianians too :)
@Sean @ One Smart Dollar – Maybe it’s time to check it again real quick just to make sure? :)
@Erin – Haha… Yeah, I’d totally close that bad boy down and just be done with it. I hate having stuff open in my name that I never use – freaks me out a bit.
@Alexis – Awesome! I think that’s how I first heard of all this too actually, in Money mag. Guess it’s good remind everyone every few years just to make sure we’re up to speed.
@Ashley – There you go! And you made almost $100 an hour off it too, well done :)
@Kara – Oh jeez, well that sucks… I wonder how it’s all accounted for on their books? Would be so annoying to have it forever and ever and ever unclaimed! For both parties: :( I bet that’s the problem for a lot of other people too – not being able to prove they’re the rightful owners of it. Sucky.
@Money Beagle – Well that was nice of you! Maybe I should do my mom and dad and siblings too then? And they can use it to buy me a nice Christmas present? Haha…
@Brent Pittman – As is many other things in our life ;)
@G. Jones – Nice! Did your mom end up thanking you with some of it? ;)
@Suzanne Cramer – Woohoo! That’s awesome! And I bet you guys have someone in-house that can notarize things for you at work easily, huh? If not, hit up your local bank or credit union as many of those places do it for free for their members too.
@Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter – There you go :) And then you’d be helping all your readers too!
@Ellie – Oh jeez, haha… I just got a damn speeding tkt too actually, always gets you when you least expect it!
@Jacob @ iheartbudgets – Well that’s good! Congrats!
@debtgirl – Haha… I never thought of checking for my friends/family until you guys started talking about it in the comments. I’m totally gonna do it now though, so thanks :) (And my friends/family might be thanking you too!)

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24 becca September 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Nothing for me, but I found a tiny dividend check for my mom. I sent her an email about it. Very cool!

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25 Lindsey September 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I just went to missingmoney.com and found a paycheck I apparently never received! It’s for less than $100, but every little bit helps! Thanks for the info!!

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26 J. Money October 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

@becca – Well that’s something! Very sweet of you to check for her :)
@Lindsey – You know it! Glad it worked out for you! :)

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