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The concept of unclaimed money or property involves funds owed to individuals by businesses, financial institutions, or governments that were not collected.
Individuals or legal heirs can file claims for such funds, often held by state governments from sources such as bank accounts, insurance policies, or state agencies.
To find unclaimed money, individuals can search their state's unclaimed property office and those of previous residences through credible websites such as Unclaimed.org or MissingMoney.com.
Amid the financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) reports that 1 in 10 Americans may have unclaimed property.
How to search for lost money
This includes forgotten assets in banks, financial institutions, or companies that have been turned over to the state due to a lack of contact with the owner for over a year.
Common sources include uncashed paychecks, forgotten accounts, stocks, security deposits, unredeemed gift cards, and IRS tax refunds.
NAUPA provides guidelines on how to search for lost money, advising individuals to use both current and maiden names and search multiple states if they have relocated.
Claiming unclaimed money involves demonstrating ownership with documents such as pay stubs or utility bills and proof of identity through a driver's license or passport. Each state has its own claiming process, with processing times varying.
Additionally, individuals may discover forgotten funds within their possession, such as credit card rewards or money transfer app balances.
Redeeming cash-back credit card rewards or utilizing travel credit card points for non-travel options can provide financial benefits.
Money transfer apps such as Venmo and PayPal may also hold unused balances that can be transferred to bank accounts. Moreover, unused gift cards can be exchanged for cash on platforms like Cardpool.com.
As the economy faces challenges, individuals are encouraged to search for unclaimed money online and make use of existing financial assets to mitigate financial strains.