Indiana Jones racing through some foreign land seeking his next archaeological find is an adventure that this treasure seeker would never get tired of. Who doesn’t get excited about finding a treasure? Especially, if it’s free money. Whether it’s finding a $20 bill in the parking lot of the mall or an old bond that your grandparents bought you, it’s always a nice treat to be able to add some cash to your wallet and get free money.
Unlike Indiana Jones, you don’t have to head to some remote location to battle the local natives to find a secret treasure. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own living room. Here are some lost treasures that you can find simply with a few clicks of the mouse. Are you ready to go treasure hunting and find unclaimed property?
What if you had a long lost uncle that bequeathed a portion of his vast estate, but you never knew of it? Well, your state treasury department just might. Most states have dedicated departments responsible for getting money back to its rightful owner. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators is comprised primarily by the treasurers of each state. The group’s web site, www.unclaimed.org, allows you to search under participating states.
A quick visit to the site and all I had to was click my state (Illinois), in the dropdown menu. Selecting that took me to my state’s Treasury department site where all I had to do was enter my name and see if I was destined to find my missing fortune. Alas, the results revealed “No Records Found” and I’m off to my next treasure hunt.
NAUPA also runs a site that allows searches of all participating organizations and by an individual’s name, www.missingmoney.com. This site claims to have information on a lot in lost bank accounts, orphaned retirement funds, stock shares from splits , tax refunds, or items left in storage lockers and safe deposit boxes. You name it, they’ve got it.
The site even shares a few success stories of people who stumbled upon the site only to find they had an old paycheck or life insurance claim that they never received. Could I be one of the lucky one? It tool all of five seconds to realize that I was not.
If you believe that you have some old bonds that got lost over the years, you might still be in luck. Go to Treasury Hunt at www.treasurydirect.gov, where you can enter your Social Security number or any family member who may have once owned a missing bond. You can be begin your “Treasury Hunt” to see if you are owed anything to hopefully get free money.
I had owned some Series EE bonds over the years thanks to my grandmother purchasing them for me. I had cashed them in over the years, but; maybe, just maybe, there was more that I was missing. Once again, my treasure hunt hit a brick wall when I got this message:
We’re sorry, but no match was found on our database for the criteria you entered. Our database is updated often so please try your search again at a later date.
Don’t let my empty results stop you. Here’s some info from the Treasury Hunt site to help you find your missing money.
Please Note: The Treasury Hunt database is limited.
- Treasury Hunt does not contain a record of all savings bonds. This system only provides information on Series E bonds issued in 1974 and after.
- Treasury Hunt may not completely identify any/all savings bonds you may have lost… only those that have reached final maturity and were issued in 1974 and after. You can’t search for undeliverable bonds in Treasury Hunt. To file a claim for bonds, you must submit one of the following:
- For lost, stolen or destroyed bonds, submit Form PD F 1048.
- For undeliverable bonds (bonds not received), submit Form PD F 3062-4.
You will need to provide information about dates of purchase, names on bonds, and other pertinent data.
- Most records for registered Treasury notes and bonds can be searched through this system.
- Please keep in mind, under the Privacy Act of 1974, if you are not the bond owner or co-owner, we are limited in the information we can provide.
What about pensions?
For me, this a treasure I won’t be able to find since I’ve never had a pension. If you’re like me, then here’s your chance to help out a loved one. Who knows-they may pay you a finder’s fee 🙂
If you have a family who worked for a company that offered a pension, it’s a possibility that they may have some money left from a current or former employer. All you or they have to do is go to the pension benefits guarantee corporation, www.search.tbgc.gov/mp and search your name and the state you reside.
I pulled a list from Illinois and was amazed at the number of the names that appeared. If you think you have a shot, go to the site and get your free money!
Old Life Insurance
Finally, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a life insurance company location system that will allow you to look for a lost policy, with as little evidence as a premium payment received from long ago. The site has a nice “how to” guide to helping you find lost policies, but I was unable to find anything that I was owed.
The site also suggests:
If your state insurance department is unable to locate the correct insurance company, you should go to your local library and request Best’s Insurance Reports. This annual report lists insurance company names and addresses, reorganizations, mergers, name changes and bankruptcies during the last year.
Finally, many life insurance companies are members of life insurance trade associations. You should also contact one of the following trade associations for additional assistance in locating the company that services your existing policy.
If that doesn’t yield you any results, there is an alternative. You can visit www.mibsolutions.com and they will conduct a search for a $75 fee. That $75 is whether they find something or not. Before you pay, better have a hunch that there is something out there for you. I didn’t go for the fee since I was trying to find treasure, not lose it.
Get Your Benefits
Do you qualify for a support from a governmental program? Are you a a discharged honorable veteran? These are just a few examples of assistance that you may qualify for if you head to www.govbenefits.gov. Once there, you’ll have to go through a 80-100 question quiz answering some basic info questions. It takes you a mere five minutes and once you complete the questionnaire, a printout will share what you may qualify for. Here’s some more info from the site:
The first of these initiatives to reach the Internet was GovBenefits.gov, an effort to provide citizens with easy online access to government benefit and assistance programs. The GovBenefits.gov mission focuses on reducing the expense and difficulty of conducting business with the government and increasing citizen access to benefit information. At the time of the site’s launch, it featured 55 programs, representing the ten original Federal agency partners. The website now includes over 1,000 programs representing 17 Federal partners.
Time to Get Free Money!
Although my quest to get free money on-line fell short, I’m sure there will be somebody that reads this post that will benefit. If you find free money, be sure to contact me and let me know. I’ll be sure to pass it on to the rest of my readers.
On October 31 and November 1, business and financial institutions must submit their unclaimed property reports to the various state treasuries. And for consumers, these dates are important to remember as they could be losing property that is rightfully theirs. In fact, did you know that states can legally take money away from you after a period of inactivity? It happens all the time and it’s called escheatment. Each state has abandoned or unclaimed property laws which allow them to claim abandoned property (bank accounts, safe deposit box holdings, stocks, bonds, etc.) after a specific amount of time. Generally speaking, three to five years is the trigger for dormancy – but it varies by state. The bottom line is, the state could owe you money!
Jeff Rose is a certified financial planner and U.S. combat veteran. He blogs at Good Financial Cents and Soldier of Finance.
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