Snatch Up Your Long Lost Money!!

by J. Money - Published July 28, 2014

This is going to sound scammy*, I know, but millions of people are missing out on billions of dollars they’ve forgotten about over the years. $58 Billion to be exact (as of Jan, 2013).

And today I’m happy to report that number just dropped by $355.38! Woohoo! That’s my wife’s check above she just claimed from the great state of Maryland this weekend :) How they knew her last name was BudgetsAreSexy is beyond me…

You may recall from last year that my wife is an accidental hoarder of money. She forgets cash in birthday cards, jacket pockets, graduations cards from 11 years ago (true story), and apparently also PAYCHECKS WORTH HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS she never cashed! WTF?

That check up top was long earned and forgotten over a decade ago from temp work she picked up after graduating college. I finally convinced her a year ago to do her own search for unclaimed money (and by “convince her” I mean I did it FOR her), and she finally got around to submitting the claim. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she’s allergic to money ;)

Still, this is solid proof that this stuff’s legit. And I’m willing to bet a good portion of you are probably owed money you’ve long lost too. If you can believe it, the average amount people find is $892! How insane/awesome is that?

If you’re wondering why or how, or even what unclaimed money’s about, read further…

What is Unclaimed Money?

According to Unclaimed.org (run by The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators):

Unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.

Here are some other interesting facts:

  • Every U.S. state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands – and Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada have unclaimed property programs that actively and continuously find owners of lost and forgotten assets (Yeah Canada!).
  • Claims can be made into perpetuity in most cases – even by heirs.
  • Unclaimed property laws have been around since at the 1930s, but have become much broader and more enforced in the last 25 years.
  • Unclaimed property is one of the original consumer protection programs.

Even celebrities are owed money! As of 2013 Lindsay Lohan is owed $1,560, Cindy Crawford $101,900, Justin Timberlake is out $3,579, and even our own president Barack Obama is owed money – to the tune of $700. How busy can they be to ignore such fortunes? ;)

How to Claim Your Abandoned Property

If you finally believe me that this is real, and you’re now excited to go see just how much YOU’RE owed too (fyi I’m not getting paid a penny to pimp out these sites – I’m trying to get you the pennies!), here are the steps to get going.

  1. Go to MissingMoney.com and type in your name/state.
  2. See if anything shows up (more than likely there will be like 200 of you out there, so try to narrow the search by using middle initial and city/state to speed it up. If you’ve lived in over 20 places in your life like I have, it may take you longer ;) But hey, it’s “free” money!)
  3. If you find something that could be yours, and you answer “yes” to all those questions it pops out, it’ll then direct you over to the place to file your missing money report (not to be confused with missing persons report). More than likely this will be your own state’s site it’s set up for this. In Virginia where we now live it’s vamoneysearch.org.

If that’s too overwhelming, you can also just go to Unclaimed.org and click on the pretty map to go directly to your state’s site ;) But I recommend starting at MissingMoney.com in case you have cash waiting for you in states you’ve long forgotten about.

unclaimed money states
[Look at Canada representin’! About time our countries merge together for some good ol’ fashion love making… I mean, money making.]

After you search for yourself, hook up your loved ones too!

You can do a search for your significant others like I did (and hope to get some booty in return! Both financially and physically – ow ow!), then also hook up your brothers and your sisters and your mommas and your poppas (to make up for all the dumb stuff you’ve ever put them through), as well as your bffs (next round of beer’s on them!), any companies you own or are a part of (*ahem* raise time), and then even for money long lost – and owed – to your deceased loved ones.

It literally takes a handful of seconds to get started, and there’s no excuse for not giving it a shot. Unless you’ve already done it this week ;) And in which case, tell us how much you found!!

So you ready to go searching??? Hit up MissingMoney.com right now before you click on the next shiny item you see online and grab your money! Even if you have to break it into two steps (searching, then filling stuff out – the annoying part). It’ll be the easiest money you’ve ever made.

And in the future, NEVER LOSE YOUR MONEY TO BEGIN WITH! ;)

——-
PS: I’ll be joining y’all too this fine Monday morning… I always do a search every year for the wife and I even if I never find anything juicy for myself (she’s luckier than I!), and after a quick search while writing up this post, I believe I just may have found my 1st winner winner chicken dinner! Woohoo! I’ll be reporting the findings if it pans out… It could have me confused with J. Money the rapper though, which I am quite obviously not ;)

PPS: Speaking of J. Money the rapper (who now goes as “J. Futuristic” – what??), I got three emails from someone thinking I was him just last week. And then yesterday TWO phone calls to my Google Voice number! Which one of y’all are pranking me?? ;) I debated sharing one of the rap songs this kid wrote out and sent over to me – presumably so I’d help make him rich and famous in the rap world – but I’d have to edit out every other 3rd word and it literally looked like garble afterwards – sorry. Maybe I’ll get a Will Smith type singer next time who “don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records” as Eminem so eloquently put it years ago. Followed by, “Well, I do; so f*ck him and f*ck you too!”

Ahhh, thug life…

*While the sites mentioned here are indeed reputable, DO be aware that there are tons of scammers out there too. While it’s not illegal to charge money for researching and digging up this info on your behalf (as some companies do), just make sure you’ve done your own research before handing over money. As you can see, you can do it all by yourself FOR FREE. As my wife just did!

************

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PS: If you don't trust yourself with another credit card, ignore this! This strategy is to help you get out of debt quicker, not risk adding more to it.

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kirsten @ Indebted July 28, 2014 at 6:43 am

I’m ashamed to say I’ve collected several times :-) I searched about a month ago and found that mt husband has about $300 spread over three claims. We’ve moved a lot (7 addresses in 10 years), which makes “losing” money even easier. Tip for the gals – even if you’ve been married awhile, search under your maiden name. Also be aware of name misspellings.

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2 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

Great tip indeed! And at least you’re now picking all that money back up :) Could be worse surprises, haha…

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3 Ben Luthi July 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

Good stuff! I’ve checked a few times over the years and I never find anything :( I guess I’m too anal to miss anything haha. I did, however, find $60 this morning for my father-in-law. Always good to get extra brownie points there!

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4 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

Nice, man! Can never have too many points in that department :)

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5 save. spend. splurge. July 28, 2014 at 7:27 am

I never forget to cash a cheque or pick up money. I’m a moneyhound..

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6 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:50 am

maybe you’d get lucky with some random inheritance you were never aware of?

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7 Brian July 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

Indiana has its own website that is pretty easy to use… it is just indianaunclaimed.com. I search for my family a couple times a year. I had a missing paycheck from when I worked at Target as a kid… apparently I had earned some vacation time after working part time there during high school and they somehow couldn’t direct deposit that money like they could every other paycheck I had with them.

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8 Retired by 40 July 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

Yeah, I never forget to cash a check….seriously, I either have it direct deposited or deposit the check from my phone….and who even has cash anymore. I supposed if someone gave me cash I would forget about it too…

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9 John @ Wise Dollar July 28, 2014 at 8:04 am

Very nice J! I had “found” several hundred dollars 1-2 years ago myself. Apparently I was refunded something on a credit card I had years ago, closed the account and still was carrying that credit balance. I love me some found money, goes straight to the IRA!

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10 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:51 am

That’s a perfect place to put it too :)

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11 Jon @ Money Smart Guides July 28, 2014 at 8:11 am

I found a few hundred bucks that my parents were owed by looking at one of these sites. They filled out the paper and in a few weeks had the check for the money. It was easy and great to find them money that was theirs all along!

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12 Brian @ Debt Discipline July 28, 2014 at 8:13 am

I’ve checked a few times over the years and have never found any. Just checked again this AM and no unclaimed cash. :(.

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13 Catina July 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

I have pulled a couple hundred dollars for my household from this site in the past. Totally legit! Think I’ll check again just to be on the safe side!

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14 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life July 28, 2014 at 8:30 am

Didn’t find anything for myself, but just found something for my bf! Printing the claim form now!

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15 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

Nice!! You’re a perfect girlfriend :)

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16 Brit July 28, 2014 at 8:34 am

I didn’t think I was ever going to get anything. Found 2 claims for under $100. Free Money? Yes, please!

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17 Michelle July 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

Wow that is awesome! I’m going to check for me and Wes right now :)

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18 Will July 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

Thanks, Obama. Way to be a bad example! :)

My sister got about $400 last year because I prompted her to run a search.

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19 Lauren July 28, 2014 at 9:26 am

My Mom had heard about this a few years ago and searched for everyone in the family, and it turned out that I had some missing money! It was really easy to get my claim in and receive my check. I actually wrote about my experience here- http://writebudget.com/unclaimed-property/
I hope you don’t mind me sharing :)

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20 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

Cool! Way to go mom!

(And it’s always cool to drop links that add value to the convo – so thank YOU)

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21 Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

Holy sh&t!!!!! I just clicked the link and found out that I am owed $507 from two companies from when I lived in Florida (which was 6 years ago)!! I definitely owe you a beer or two at FinCon. Thanks for sharing!

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22 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

You’re on fire today!! Time to go play the lotto! (Just don’t waste all $507, haha….)

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23 Becky @ RunFunDone July 28, 2014 at 10:04 am

Arg. Nothing for me or hubs, but I found some for our relatives. Now do I tell them about it? (They’re not close relatives). I just think I’m going to have to do a lot of arguing to convince them that it’s not a scam, and I’m not sure that I want to do that.

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24 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

haha… maybe you can tell them you’ll do all the paperwork for them and split the $$$ ;)

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25 Prudence Debtfree July 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

I understand your wife : ) She’s not allergic to money; she’s allergic to paper work – like me! An average of $892 per searcher? That’s incredible! I live in one of the Canadian provinces that doesn’t have this unclaimed money service : ( At least not yet. In the mean time, I’ll follow the words of wisdom at the end of your post:
“And in the future, NEVER LOSE YOUR MONEY TO BEGIN WITH! ;)”

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26 Kipp July 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

I was very surprised to see my name show up in Virginia as I have never lived there, but actually vacationed down there this summer. Is there actually someone else with my name? I thought I was the only one :(. HowManyOfMe.com still says there is 1 or fewer of me (but I think that is calculated on odds, not actual numbers).

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27 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

Yeah, who knows… guess you just have to determine if it’s worth spending the 15-20 mins or whatever knocking out the paperwork for a shot :) It should show whether the unclaimed amount is under or over $100.

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28 Kipp July 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Not me, it says like Fidelity Life Insurance. I didn’t even know they had life insurance! More than $50, so Kipp in Richmond Virginia, you better get on that money bro! Giving me a bad name!

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29 Noonan July 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

Great point to run a check for friends and relatives. It’s always great to call someone up and say you’ve found them some money they’ve accidentally misplaced. It’s almost like being some kind of financial superhero!

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30 Natalie @ Financegirl July 28, 2014 at 10:49 am

Love this! I’m sure people don’t know about it. Thanks for sharing!

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31 EL July 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

I searched back in 2012 I believe, and nada (o) bucks in my name. I will check again if I do have something owed to me, I will send you a finders aka (reminders) fee.

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32 Done by Forty July 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

It’s a really good tip. I unfortunately have only made off with tiny sums. I think my last check was for four bucks. Still, I’m cheap enough that I went through the trouble to get that check!

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33 J. Money July 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

hahahahaa… that is all kinds of awesome.

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34 John C @ Action Economics July 28, 2014 at 11:25 am

Just checked ours, thanks for publishing the link, I had forgotten about these services. No such luck for me and Mrs C. Though.

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35 jenlarson July 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

Very cool – thanks for sharing! Nothing for me or my hubby, but I just found stuff for 4 different people I know…crazy!

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36 Scooze July 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I checked it out and should be getting $1-50$! I hope its closer to fifty… haha. Thanks!

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37 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:36 am

If it’s $1.00 HAVE to let me know :)

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38 Darrell July 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Be sure to check with your state’s website for unclaimed property, too. My search on MissingMoney.com showed nothing, although I knew I had an account lingering out there…I searched again with my state’s site and found $2,444 in two accounts. This is better than the republic wireless raffle…almost everyone is a winner!

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39 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

DAAAAAAMN – good tip!

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40 Kristin @ Brokepedia July 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Awesome, J$! I’ve looked a few times over the years, and nothing ever pops up. I check back periodically with the hope that there will be a million bucks lying around that I might have forgotten about at some point. :P

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41 Debt and the Girl July 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Wow, you have totally motivated me to do my own search. I am always curious about sites like this but wonder if they are legit. You have convinced me to try this :)

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42 Jaclyn July 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I found my non profit I work for money in an old closed account. Thanks!!!

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43 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:38 am

There you go! Hope it was a lot!

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44 Erin July 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

So glad you posted this–I’m able to claim about $75!

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45 J @ the expat investor July 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I remember doing this last year but was not lucky enough to find any unclaimed money. I probably should try it again.

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46 Renea July 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I’ve been a long time lurker but decided to come out for some money lol. I am a little concerned about giving my social security number out for verification. To J Money and others that have claimed money, were you required to give your ssn?

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47 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:40 am

I can’t remember if my wife had to or not, but I’ll ask her :) I’m okay personally with it if it’s going straight to the state, but if it’s a random 3rd party intermediary there’s no way I would. You might be able to call up the state too and ask if there’s a different way to confirm?

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48 Alexis July 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I’ve always heard about the amount of money that is sitting around and not being taken advantage of. I am always eerie on looking it up because of all the scammers out there.

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49 Alicia July 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm

I did this a few weeks ago (against my husbands wishes, as he thought it was a scam too!) and was able to claim a check for $50 for a Verizon Wireless rebate from 2006 that always wondered why I never received. Turns out the check just never got to me. With the help of the NJ Dept. Of Treasury and their unclaimed money site, I finally got my cash. All of these sites are legitimate and work with the state governments. It seems shady, but just like the free speedboats to Murano from Venice (also not a scam!) they are totally above board and need your SSN to ensure it is really you.

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50 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:40 am

Woahhhh free speedboats?? Sign me up!

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51 Lynn July 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I found over $450 a few years ago from an old employer. I still don’t know why they owed me money. I got my last paycheck. Well it was fun to find it.

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52 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

That’s incredible!

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53 P.F. Addict July 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one with a spouse like that J. I first pointed one out to my husband several years ago. I have probably given him the claim forms 3 times already and he still hasn’t claimed it! I just threw threw it at him again. Thanks for the reminder! I would also like to thank Kipp for referencing howmanyofme.com. I had never heard of that and just spent 20 minutes running the names of everyone I know. :)

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54 debt debs July 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

So cool that you found some of your wife’s money and have helped other bloggers find some here too!

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55 No Nonsense Landlord July 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Nothing for me. But I would be glad to split any that anyone else doesn’t want.

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56 Anne @ Money Propeller July 29, 2014 at 10:05 am

Fascinating, I always thought people were really odd if they had money out there that they didn’t know about. Now I know that your wife is really odd :-P
Nice work doctoring up that cheque.
I’m going to go check if I should add myself to the list of the odd folks in the world.

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57 Anne @ Money Propeller July 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

Nope, no luck. I have a distinct last name and no one is my family can be considered odd ;-)

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58 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:43 am

At least you gave it a shot ;)

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59 Melissa July 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm

This was fun! It’s so nice to know that these sites aren’t actually a scam, and though I didn’t find anything for myself or my husband (even searching under my maiden name), I *did* find claims for both my brother in law and my mom! Someone owes me dinner. :)

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60 Jim Juber July 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm

J to the mickie fickie Money! That’s good stuff right there. Nothing turned up when I searched my name, but my pops had $45 from one state and $335 from another. For less than 30 minutes worth of work, he will be pocketing $380. That is the bee’s knees.

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61 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:46 am

yeah son! look at you go!

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62 Mom @ Three is Plenty July 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I had $10 from the state of Texas from my previous university. No idea what it was for, but I claimed it. It was kind of a PITA because my name had changed, so I had to show my marriage license, and proof that I had lived at the address on file at the time – luckily, I hoarded mail at the time, and found some old bank statements mailed to me at that address.

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63 [email protected] July 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I have just spent too much time looking myself and my family members up. Sadly, nothing was there for us. But I did add that website to my favorites tab so I can check periodically. I would love to have a check in the mail for something I had forgotten.

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64 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

It’s a good yearly calendar item to set reminders for :)

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65 Bridget July 29, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Totally got a message from my mom 2 days ago that she found my name with unclaimed money — I just filled out the forms, but it says the amount is “less than $100” so too bad for me =p

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66 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

that’s ‘cuz I told your mom two days ago when she was over! *snap!*

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67 Kevin Vesga July 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I just found I had a claim for $16.90 and my parents have a claim for a whopping $1.56!

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68 Anthony Carter July 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I just found two places that owe me money. Should I pay $40 for a year’s access to a data base and a “detective” (lost funds) ?

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69 J. Money July 30, 2014 at 7:45 am

$40? I probably wouldn’t… just set reminders to check yourself like you just did every now and then – I doubt you’ll continue finding money if you’re paying attention now :)

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70 Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog July 30, 2014 at 12:31 am

I’m looking now. I’ve looked before, but maybe something came up. lol. I’m checking for the fam too!

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71 Grayson @ Debt Roundup July 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I check this out every year. My state is not supported in the MissingMoney.com website, but they have their own. I check my businesses and everything else I can think of. Why not?

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72 Richard Anthony August 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Sharing this info, you’ve made some people’s day, I’m sure. For me, you at least made me look. First I visited MissingMoney.com, found nothing, then tried UnclaimedFunds.org, which directed me right back to MissingMoney.com. Never realized that there were so many of me. . .

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73 Leilani August 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Cha-ching! This is the first time I found any money. Sure it’s only 43 cents (from paypal), but that’s 43% of a double cheeseburger!

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74 J. Money August 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Hahhahahaha… are you serious??

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75 Leilani August 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

About the forty three cent payday or the double? Yes, to both…I never joke about money or cheeseburgers :D

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76 Nik @ Midlife Finance August 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

There’s nothing wrong about this, I don’t know why some people are ashamed? You should always look for all legal ways for earning money.

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77 Anthony Carter August 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Ok I completed paperwork < two weeks ago and received a check today for $121.82 today. Wow , Still waiting to hear from three other fortunes. Perhaps I will amass a small fortune.

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78 J. Money August 19, 2014 at 8:38 am

Yeah son! Work it!

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79 Vanessa August 25, 2016 at 11:57 am

Mine says over $50….what could that be? How would I find out the exact amount owed to me?

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80 J. Money August 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

I think you have to submit a form to really get the details. Or at least hit up the state’s site on it to see whether it’s really yours, and what for (the links to them all should be on that main site there).

I’m actually going to go through it all myself as a company emailed me telling me I was owed money they sent to the state! Apparently I was avoiding their other emails by accident before it got to that point :(

But hey – “free” money is free money :)

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