Entries in Unclaimed (4)


$6.1M Unclaimed Money Payout in Missouri Could Be Largest Ever in US

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(JEFFERSON City, Mo.) -- Someone in Missouri will get very lucky Wednesday when he or she becomes the recipient of the largest unclaimed money award in U.S. history: $6.1 million.

The states estimate that one in every 10 people has unclaimed money waiting for them. In dusty warehouses, in states all across the country, lie records detailing $32 billion worth of unclaimed money, just waiting for its rightful owners.

The $6.1 million check will go to a Kansas City woman who wants to remain anonymous.  Years ago, her ancestors invested in an obscure company. The stock got lost as it was passed down through the generations, growing to the sum it's worth today.

There have been other extra-large single unclaimed money awards before. New York State previously held the record for the largest unclaimed money payout when it returned $4 million. Wisconsin has returned $1.5 million.

Missouri has issued other significant payouts.  According to state treasurer Clint Zweifel, a man in St. Joseph, Mo., received $100,000, comprising unclaimed money from 15 different securities accounts.

"There is so much money that's out there waiting for Americans to claim," Zweifel told ABC's Good Morning America. "Just to give you an example, in Missouri alone I have more than $600 million on hand waiting for Missourians."

Missouri has already returned $103 million in unclaimed funds to more than 303,000 people in the state since January 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Unclaimed Money? Five Signs You're Being Scammed

Ian Waldie/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- A new scam has surfaced that uses the promise of finding unclaimed money to lure would-be victims.

The scam arrives in email form, with a message telling people they have "millions of dollars" in unclaimed property waiting, according to West Virginia state treasurer John Perdue. The fraudulent message purports to come from Jeff Smith of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, but it's a fraud. NAUPA is a real organization of unclaimed property chiefs from around the country, but it does not have control over any actual money -- much less the authority to dole it out to people.

"My office has worked diligently over the years to return unclaimed funds to rightful owners. It is very disturbing to know scam artists are trying to exploit our hard work and take advantage of those people who trust the state to return their money," said Perdue.

Officials in Nevada, Maryland, Louisiana, and Ohio have also heard from citizens who received the false email. The crooks make their money by tricking people into calling an overseas toll telephone number to retrieve their supposed funds, then using various schemes to keep them on the line as long as possible.

Mary Pitman, a staunch advocate of searching for missing money on your own and author of "The Little Book of Missing Money," offers these five signs that somebody contacting you about unclaimed money is illegitimate:

  1. It comes as an email. State unclaimed property offices do not use email to contact you. They simply don't have that information. It's too hard to verify that the email is truly yours.
  2. It claims to be from the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. NAUPA is an organization that unclaimed property administrators belong to. NAUPA does not do anything with reuniting people with their missing money.
  3. You get referred to someone else. State treasurers and comptrollers normally oversee unclaimed money and property. The work is never outsourced.
  4. You're asked for your bank account information. You may have to supply personal information such as your social security number to make a legitimate unclaimed money claim, but you will NEVER be asked your bank account information.
  5. There is a fee to file the claim. State governments do not charge money for searching their database of unclaimed accounts or for making a claim.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Over $16 Billion Exist in Unredeemed Treasury Bonds

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt is holding 44.7 million matured, unredeemed savings bonds worth $16.3 billion -- and one of them could belong to your family.

"Matured" means they have finished earning interest and "unredeemed" means the owners haven't cashed them in.  When you consider that savings bonds take 20 to 40 years to mature, it's easy to see how people could forget about them.

The good news is that in 2000, the Treasury Department started its "Treasury Hunt" website, where you can search for savings bonds in your family's name.  All you do is enter a social security number and the site returns results instantly.

And it's worth checking -- the average successful search turns up bonds worth about $1,000.

Every month, the Treasury Department adds another half million bonds to the database as they mature, so check back periodically if your intial search comes up empty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Billions of Dollars Remain in Unclaimed Money

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Billions of unclaimed dollars -- uncashed overtime checks, old savings bonds and lost insurance funds -- are lying around just waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners.

ABC News consumer correspondent Elizabeth Leamy says states hold unclaimed money from many businesses, and that the Treasury Department is sitting on many unclaimed savings bonds.

"Billions of dollars worth are being held by the Treasury Department," says Leamy.

Leamy adds that old bank accounts are another source of unclaimed money.

"More banks than ever have failed in the past couple of years.  And the FDIC insures those of course but if you didn't collect your money at the time they hold that money for you," says Leamy.

Consumers interested in checking for any possible lost funds can visit a new website called

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio