Could you have unclaimed money waiting for you somewhere? It’s entirely possible, as the United States currently holds billions of dollars in unclaimed assets. This property is simply waiting to be claimed by rightful owners who, for a variety of reasons, may not even remember it exists.
Whether you think you have an unclaimed asset awaiting you, or you’re simply curious as to whether you might, below we’ll discuss six tips for finding unclaimed money.
Tip #1: Begin with the States
The experts at the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) advise searching locally within the 50 states and the District of Columbia to locate unclaimed money most efficiently. They even offer a use-friendly online resource that connects you to each state’s appropriate department or office. Remember to search not only the state you currently live in, but any state where you lived or owned a business previously.
Tip #2: Don’t Pay Someone to Search for You
The resources you need to find unclaimed assets that belong to you are available free of charge. Any individual or organization that claims to be able to find unclaimed property for a fee is likely trying to scam you. Use the free resources at NAUPA and don’t be fooled by those looking to take advantage of your situation.
Tip #3: Search for Federal Tax Refunds
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes it simple to search for a missing income tax refund using their “Where’s My Refund” tool located on their website. All you’ll need is a few pieces of information, such as your Social Security Number and the amount you are owed.
Tip #4: Don’t Neglect Credit Union Accounts
If you’ve ever had money in a federally insured credit union that failed, you can track down lost funds using tools provided by the National Credit Union Administration on their website. While a credit union search is most beneficial about 18 months after a credit union has been liquidated, it’s possible to have positive search results before or after that time, as well.
Tip #5: Search for Retirement Money
Did you know there’s an agency of the federal government dedicated to protecting the pensions of some companies that go under? It’s called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and if you ever worked for a company that no longer exists, you may be able to locate a lost pension by searching here.
If your company was bought-out or still exists in some form and you believe you are owed retirement funds, begin by contacting the company directly.
Tip #6: Search Veterans’ Funds
Veterans and family members who believe they are owed money related to military service can use this feature on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to conduct a free search. Oftentimes, money held here belongs to veterans the government has not been able to locate.
With so many resources available at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to research whether you may be owed unclaimed funds. Each of the resources listed above is free of charge and easy to access, giving you the best possible chance to find the unclaimed property you’re owed.