Finding Lost Money

By: Rachel Pierce Email
By: Rachel Pierce Email

"It could be a bank account you forgot to close. It could be a dividend check that never reached you" says Consumer Reports Greg Daugherty "It could be money belonging to a relative who's died and would have left it to you but somehow it's been lost along the way."

Consumer Reports Money Adviser points out, thanks to the World Wide Web, claiming your unclaimed funds has gotten pretty easy.

You can start your search at Web sites such as and fill in some very basic information, including your name and state treasury you want to check.

If you find a match, contact the state and follow the directions. To recover unclaimed funds, most states require proof of ownership, such as Social Security number or proof of previous address. Once you file the paperwork, be prepared for a wait.

"It can take a while to get money, but it's no faster if you go through on of the finder firms. In fact, all they may do for you is give you information you could get on line anyhow for free" says Daugherty.

In 2006 alone, more than 1.7 billion dollars in unclaimed property was distributed, with several states saying the average is about $100 per person, which, when you think about it, it like money in the bank.

There's also plenty of unclaimed funds in federal coffers, too. But, unlike the state treasuries, there's no central database, making it very difficult to search for any money you might be owed, such as treasury bonds in your name that have matured.

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