How to Find Lost and Unclaimed Money

Start your hunt for unclaimed money!

May 18, 2014 at 9:28AM

You could have unclaimed money sitting around — and not even know it. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, $41.7 billion in unclaimed property is currently held by states. Money from forgotten security deposits, abandoned bank accounts, lost insurance refunds, and uncashed checks all sitting waiting to be claimed. Don’t let the government keep your money!

Start your hunt for unclaimed money be conducting your own search first. You can start by looking at the website, which allows you to search records from 38 states. Don’t sign up for a locator company or hire anyone without doing your own preliminary investigating. Hiring a locator company can be costly and some search firms are really scams. When you begin investigating, be sure to look for common misspellings of your name, search under every state in which you resided, and search the names of deceased family members.

If you want to search for unclaimed money, here’s where you can start:

States’ unclaimed money
Businesses like banks and brokerage firms are required to hand over unclaimed funds to the state. Your best bet to start your search for unclaimed money is to head over to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ website The website will direct you where to begin your search based on where you live.

If you’ve moved, be sure to search for unclaimed money in the state where you originally resided. And if you’re looking for unclaimed money from a business, do a search for funds in the state where the business has its headquarters.

Banking and investments
Has your financial institution gone under or did you switch banks and forget to transfer funds? If you’re looking for unclaimed funds from failed financial institutions, search the website for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

If your credit union has failed, start your search for your unclaimed deposit from the National Credit Union Administration.

If you’re an investor and are owed money from a company or person, the Securities and Exchange Commission lists enforcement cases.

Life insurance
If you’re trying to track down a life insurance policy, contact the state’s insurance department, which might have a policy locator service program to help you conduct your search. You can find contact information at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website

Money abroad
If you have money owed to you from foreign governments after a loss of property, you can search for unpaid foreign claims at the Bureau of Fiscal Service.

If you have a substantial amount of money that you think is sitting somewhere waiting for you to claim it, you might consider hiring an attorney specializing in unclaimed property — particularly if you or a loved one ever lived abroad. It will cost you several hundred dollars, but might be worth it if you have a significant amount of change out there.

Did you buy your home with an FHA-insured mortgage? Or did you refinance your FHA loan into a conventional one? You might have a refund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development waiting for you.

Retirement money and pensions
Your company may have gone out of business, ended a defined plan, or you may have switched jobs and left a 401(k) behind. That means you might have unclaimed retirement money sitting around. If you’re due retirement money, utilize the services of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. If you have money in a 401(k) that you’re trying to hunt down, search for it with the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits.

If you have pension money you’re owed, you should get in contact with the company directly (ditto if your company has been bought out). But if your company no longer exists, start your search with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Savings bonds
According to the Treasury Department, each year about 25,000 payments are returned to the Treasury as undeliverable. If you have a bond that was issued after 1974 and no longer earns interest, you can find it at Treasury Hunt.

Does the IRS owe you money? Maybe you moved before your tax refund could be delivered or your check has an incomplete address. If you think you have unclaimed refunds, find out what you can do at the IRS’ website. You can check the current status of your federal tax refund at this IRS’ Where’s My Refund? website.

For more resources on finding unclaimed money, go to the U.S. government’s website.

This article How to Find Lost and Unclaimed Money originally appeared on My Bank Tracker.

Take advantage of this little-known tax "loophole"
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information