Read our latest newsletter at Free Money News March 2014. Check back each month for updated articles and opportunities!
Tens of billions of dollars that actually belong to ordinary people like you are being held by the government - quite legally. Some of it may be yours or may have belonged to a relative of yours who has passed away. Without spending a dime you can find out how to find unclaimed money - you do not need anyone to help you for a fee!
Do you find it hard to imagine that so much money could be going unclaimed? Actually the “unclaimed propery”, as the government calls it, comes from a variety of sources and a few examples will make it easier to understand:
Sometimes U.S. Savings Bonds – which take 30-40 years to mature – get tucked away and forgotten, lost, or thrown away by mistake. A check may have been mailed to you at a previous address and never forwarded. Perhaps a relative lost an insurance policy that named you as a beneficiary and you have no idea if it exists or where to find it. Maybe there's a life insurance policy out there that you don't even know exists, but you're one of the beneficiaries. Or you may never have collected on an insured account you held in a bank that failed.
Whatever the reason money goes unclaimed, the government requires it be turned over to them in order to safeguard the funds. They have actually done a good job making it reasonably easy to find out if some of it is yours:
Don’t pay for an unclaimed money search. It is exciting to know there may be some money out there that is rightfully yours. The additional good news is that your search for unclaimed money should be free. With only one exception that we know of, the sites where you are most likely to find your money do not charge you to search. You do not need to pay a search agent a fee—which can be as much as 70% of any money they find for you, with cash sometimes required up front! So regardless of how slick their pitch may be, or how convincingly they claim to have “secret” sources, don’t fall for it. Just follow the guidelines below and see if you get lucky:
* Get creative with your name. The start of your search on most sites will be entering your name. Before you begin your search, sit down and make a list of every possible variation of your name that you can come up with. Start with your first and last name, then add your middle initial, then use just your first initial and then your first and middle initials along with your last name. Misspell your name in many different ways. This may sound like a bother but it really won’t take you that long and could be worth some cold hard cash. Get family or friends involved and make a game of it! When you go to do your search, try each variation individually and keep a record of which sites you have searched the names you searched. This list will come in handy not only for keeping track of your progress now but also when you repeat your searches every three to six months. Unclaimed Property sites are updated regularly so don’t do your searches just once and forget about it.
* Start with the States. Most unclaimed money is held by individual states. These funds include (but are not limited to) things like old apartment or utility security deposits, forgotten bank accounts, dividend checks, uncashed insurance policies, abandoned safe deposit boxes, shares of stock, and much more. Each state has its own department that handles Unclaimed Property (Property in this case means money!) — you can find any state’s site simply by searching the term “unclaimed property” and the name of your state. Or go to the free website unclaimed.org (be sure you use .org, not .com!) and you will find a link to the appropriate department for each state. Don’t limit your search only to the state where you now live — you want to search every state where you have lived in the past, even briefly or while on military duty. A number of states plus Washington DC can be searched at once on the free website missingmoney.com, but be sure to see our review of missing money.com and what's really behind it first!
* Search Federal Agencies.
* Search Private Sources.
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