More often than not, the phrase “free money” is often followed by the word “scam.” But in at least one case, it’s not too good to be true — unclaimed property. By law, states have to hold onto financial accounts that haven’t had contact with the owner in over a year, and the amount at stake is tens of billions of dollars. It’s in the form of long-forgotten bank accounts, store credit, cashiers’ checks, security deposits, IRS refunds and more.
Here’s how to search for your own unclaimed property: Head to both MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org to conduct a search for any state you’ve ever lived or worked in. In the search results, you should see the last known address for the money’s rightful owner, the company reporting the funds and sometimes an estimation of the amount. If the address and the reporting company look familiar to you, go ahead and request your funds.
You’ll need to input information like your full name and Social Security number, and once you submit a claim, it could take up to 12 weeks to process.