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How To Find Lost Money And Unclaimed Funds


After living in Florida for about ten years, I moved with my family to Dallas, TX.  We lived in Dallas for about four years. A few years after returning to Florida I decided it would be smart to check the lost money website for the state of Texas.  I was shocked that I initially found several hundred dollars I was owed.  Every few weeks I checked the site again, and over about a two year period I uncovered more than $3,000.  I also found more than $1,000 that was at the State of Florida website that I guess became 'lost' when I moved to Texas.

When I mention this to friends, many of them assure me that they know they would not have any lost money due them. After showing them how to do an online search at least a third report back finding some money. Where people get hung up on this whole concept is the myth that it is going to cost them something to do a search. This may stem from the fact that there are so called 'money finders' that contact people offering to share with them the details of their lost money for a fee.  


I am not against paying one of these services, but only after you have checked all of the free search portals online to see if you can find the money yourself.  People can be very stubborn about this.  I know an individual that refuses to pay a 25 % finders fee on what is apparently a five figure amount of money.  This has been going on for about three years and she has been unable to locate the money on her own.  Of course, you should never pay someone anything in advance in such an arrangement.  Generally, you would sign a consent form agreeing to the percentage only after you receive the money.  In some cases, the transaction may be processed through an escrow service or other such middleman.

Time may be an issue in claiming  your lost money

Some jurisdictions do not have a time limit, you can claim money that is legitimately yours for years into the future.  In other cases, there may be a time limit such as seven years.  This will vary based on the government agency involved.  The bottom line is to not put this off and do a thorough search as soon as possible.

Now, back to our search for lost money.  Most people are somewhat familiar with this concept but may only be scratching the surface in their lost money search.

Where you may find lost money

1. Your State Or A State You Have Lived In Previously

The very best site that links to the various states is The National Association Of Unclaimed Property Adminstrators - Lost Money Search.

2.    Local Governments

In some states, local government are required to turn over lost money to the state and it gets deposited in the overall unclaimed funds account.  In other cases, the local municipality holds on to the money and has its own procedure for finding the money and making a claim.  If you search for the name of the city and include the words 'unclaimed money' you will find either information on how to proceed or an online search mechanism.  For example, 'Dallas unclaimed funds.'

3.  The Federal Goverment (Treasury Department)

You may have lost a savings bond and you can find it doing a search at Treasury Hunt.  Remember, if you received the bond as a gift when you were a child it may have been registered with one of your parent's Social Security numbers.  This is important as the search is based on the Social Security number of the registered owner of the bond.

4.  Your Bank Or Credit Union

Money you are entitled to from a failed bank or credit union may have been sent on your behalf to the appropriate state unclaimed funds account or may be held at either of the following -

The Credit Union National Association


 Other places to look for lost money -

5.  The IRS

IRS Tax Refund Search

6.  Federal Housing Administration

If you have ever had an FHA loan, this is one you will want to be sure and check.  This money is the result of an overpayment of mortgage insurance and is commonly 'lost' when a homeowner sells a home and moves.

FHA Unclaimed Refunds

 7.  The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

If a former employer has gone out of business and you had earned pension benefits, this money would be held by the PBGC.   PBGC Search.

8.  United States Department Of Labor

Department Of Labor Search

 9.  National Registry Of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits

Search The National Registry

10.  The MIB (for lost life insurance policies)

This one is not free, but will cost $75 to do a nationwide life insurance search.  I would definitely recommend this if you are the beneficiary of an estate to be sure there is not a lost life insurance benefit floating out there.

Search The MIB

I would love to read your success stories.  Please use the comments section below to share your results and any tips that you would like to pass along to our readers on how to hunt for lost money.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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