6 ways to search beyond the couch cushions for hidden money

Have you ever wondered if there might be money out there with your name on it waiting to be reclaimed? You’d be surprised to learn that billions of dollars in unclaimed funds are sitting in various sources, just waiting for their rightful owners to come forward.

If you’ve ever had a forgotten bank account, an old paycheck, or uncashed checks, it’s time to embark on a journey to uncover that lost money. Here are some tips on how to find and claim what’s rightfully yours.

 

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Step 1: Start with yourself

Begin by searching for unclaimed funds that might belong to you personally. This includes any forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, or abandoned safe deposit boxes. Here’s what you should do:

  • Visit your state’s unclaimed property website. Most states have websites where you can search for unclaimed property or money linked to your name. Enter your details and see if anything comes up.
  • Use the FDIC’s BankFind tool to find information about a specific bank or to locate a bank by name, city, state, or ZIP code. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) maintains a list of unclaimed insured deposits from closed financial institutions.
  • Check with your current and previous banks: Contact your bank or banks you’ve used in the past and inquire about any dormant accounts or unclaimed funds in your name.
  • Search for uncashed checks: Look through old paperwork and records for any checks you received but never cashed. These could be paychecks, tax refunds, or rebates.

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Step 2: Investigate old employers

If you’ve had multiple jobs throughout your career, there’s a possibility that you left behind some unclaimed wages or retirement funds. Follow these steps:

  • Contact previous employers: Reach out to your former employers and inquire about any unpaid wages or retirement account balances. They may direct you to the right place to claim these funds. Search the Department of Labor’s database https://webapps.dol.gov/wow for back pay an employer might owe you.
  • Check with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): If you had a pension plan with a previous employer that may have been terminated, visit PBGC’s website to see if they are safeguarding any unclaimed pension funds on your behalf.
  • Contact previous employers or financial institutions where you had 401(k) plans. They may have valuable information on how to locate and access any unclaimed retirement savings.

 

Step 3: Explore insurance policies

Insurance policies can often go unnoticed, especially if they were taken out many years ago. You might have unclaimed insurance money waiting for you. Here’s how to find it:

  • Contact insurance companies: Reach out to the insurance companies you’ve had policies in the past. They can help you determine if there are any unclaimed benefits or policies.
  • Search the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database for unclaimed insurance funds (https://www.insurance.va.gov/UnclaimedFunds/Search).

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Step 4: Search for tax refunds and stimulus checks

Tax refunds and government stimulus checks can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Make sure you’ve received all the money owed to you:

  • Check your tax refund status: Visit the IRS website and use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool https://www.irs.gov/refunds to ensure you’ve received all your tax refunds.
  • Recover your unclaimed refunds: If you believe you are owed tax refunds from previous years, the IRS provides a three-year grace period to file and claim any overpaid taxes. You can find current and prior-year tax forms on their website.
  • Verify stimulus payments: If you were eligible for any Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks) and haven’t received them, consult the IRS guidelines and take appropriate steps to claim them.

 

Step 5: Investigate other sources

There are additional sources where unclaimed money may be hiding. Don’t forget to explore these possibilities:

  • Check for FHA home loan refunds: If you’ve had an FHA home loan, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website to see if you’re entitled to a refund.
  • Investigate SEC enforcement funds: Search the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) database for money from investment enforcement cases.
  • Research bank failures: Search the FDIC database for unclaimed funds from closed financial institutions.
  • Look into credit union failures: Find unclaimed deposits from closed credit unions through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
  • If you received savings bonds as a gift in the past and forgot about them, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Billions of dollars in matured savings bonds remain unclaimed. If you believe you have a lost savings bond, complete Fiscal Service Form 1048, “Claim for Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds.” You may also use the review TreasuryHunt.gov to find matured savings bonds that have stopped earning interest.
  • Investigate bankruptcies: Use the U.S. Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator to search for money you may be owed after a person or business declares bankruptcy.
  • Check for Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts: Use the “Whereabouts Unknown” search tool to see if you have an unclaimed account.

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Step 6: Utilize online resources

There are online tools and databases that can help you in your search to find unclaimed funds:

  • MissingMoney.com: Think of this as “X” marks the spot on your treasure map. This website allows you to search for unclaimed funds across multiple states. Simply enter your name, and it will search for potential assets in your name.
  • Unclaimed.org: The official website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), it serves as a clearinghouse for unclaimed property databases in various states.
  • Credit Karma Unclaimed Money: Credit Karma, known for helping you monitor your credit, has an Unclaimed Money feature that can assist you in connecting with any missing money associated with your name – all at no cost.

 

Kurt’s key takeaways

Your search for lost loot might take some time, but persistence can pay off. Keep checking different sources and websites periodically, as unclaimed funds may appear over time. By following these steps and utilizing available resources, you can embark on your own treasure hunt and potentially reclaim unclaimed funds that rightfully belong to you. Don’t let your hard-earned money slip through the cracks. Act now and reclaim what’s yours.

Do you think you have money that could be found using these online tools? Have you ever found money like this before? Let us know in the comments below.

 


   

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