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1 in 7 People Have Unclaimed Money. Here’s How to Get Yours.

1 in 7 People Have Unclaimed Money. Here’s How to Get Yours.

States are currently holding $58 billion in unclaimed money and property. Is any of it yours? It’s free to check and it only takes minutes to claim!


I know it sounds too good to be true but it’s actually quite simple. If someone owes you money and they can’t find you, that money ends up in the state’s unclaimed funds database. This could include things like leftover utility deposits after you’ve moved, insurance payouts, or even unused gift card balances!

There are ways to get your money for free. Many scam sites will try to convince you that you need to pay for this service, but you don’t. We have a list of trustworthy, free-to-use links below.

Where does unclaimed money come from?

Where did the money come from? There are many, many sources, including:

  • Refund or rebate checks
  • Uncashed pay checks
  • Insurance payouts
  • Forgotten bank balances
  • Rental security deposits
  • Utility deposits
  • Unused gift certificates
  • Proceeds from stock sales
  • Retirement benefits from a previous employer

There may even be items, such as jewelry, watches, coins, stamps and other tangible property, from abandoned safe deposit boxes!


Does this really work?

YES! In fact, I have personally received almost $100 from one unclaimed database search. It took only a few minutes to claim and the money was sent to me directly.

The Internet is full of examples of successful refunds.

Consider this story from KSL in Salt Lake City, Utah:

“Early one recent Sunday morning, Ogden resident Jon Hanson woke up and turned on the television. He happened to see some information about a state-run program that sought to return unclaimed money to the rightful owners…

Hanson, 55, grabbed his laptop to just see if his name would pop up. “So I went in and within seconds it said, ‘You have over $100, please send this information.'”

After providing the required information in about 10 seconds, he submitted it.

“Here’s what’s amazing: that afternoon I got an email saying that my refund had been approved and would be sent out in the mail,” he recalled. “On Monday, I got another email that said (the check) had been sent out and on Tuesday, I got the check.”

The amount was nearly $500 — not bad for filling out an online query, Hanson said. That good fortune prompted him to perform searches for some relatives as well, which also resulted in recovery of monies for two out-of-state family members — both for more than $100.”

In 2013, CNN reported that one Connecticut resident claimed $32.8 million in forgotten funds from the sale of nearly 1.3 million stock shares!

Although payouts that high are certainly rare, there are millions of Americans who are owed billions of dollars. For example, the state of California alone owes $8 billion to just 32.5 million people – that’s almost $250 on average! Nearly 1 in 2 Idahoans have money waiting for them.

quote from dennis johnston about unclaimed money

How can I find unclaimed money for free?

Every state maintains its own database for unclaimed money. We’ve included the state links below, and you’ll need to check the database for every state that you’ve ever lived in. Remember, the unclaimed funds are sent to your last known address. If you’ve moved out of state a lot, then you may have funds waiting for you in multiple states!

There is a website called that includes the databases for most states. It does not search the databases for Hawaii but it does search for missing funds in other states. Missing Money is free to use and it’s the only website endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.


New funds are added all the time, so be sure to check back once a year or so to see if there are any new funds you’ve missed.

How to Find Unclaimed Money in Your State

Each state maintains a database that you can search for free. Don’t pay attention to those third-party tools that will charge you for this free service. Just use the blue state links below.

When you file a claim, you will need to provide some basic information about who you are to help them determine that the money belongs to you. You may be asked to provide your old address, a copy of your driver’s license, or other identifying information. Usually, the process is very simple and straightforward.

AlaskaNorth Carolina
AlabamaNorth Dakota
ArizonaNew Hampshire
CaliforniaNew Jersey
ColoradoNew Mexico
DelawareNew York
IdahoRhode Island
IllinoisSouth Carolina
IndianaSouth Dakota
MichiganWashington DC
MissouriWest Virginia

Each of those blue links will take you to the official state website for unclaimed funds. As I said previously, each state’s treasury department has a website where you can search for free. You do not need to pay to search for or claim your funds.

How to Avoid Having Unclaimed Money

Although it’s nice to find a windfall of unclaimed money when you’re having a hard time, it’s better to make sure that you’re getting the money that you are owed when it’s owed to you.

The best way to avoid having unclaimed money in the future is to take proactive steps to ensure that your funds never get lost. Here are some strategies that can help.


Keep Your Contact Info Updated

The most common reason people end up with unclaimed money is because someone who owed them couldn’t find them. Keep your contact information up-to-date with every institution that is holding money in your name.

Maintaining a proper forwarding address from the post office can help, too. Usually, mail forwarding only lasts for a year or so. If you’re expecting money, make sure to extend that forward.

Keep Records

Keep records of your accounts. This isn’t just for bank accounts, but also for utilities and other accounts as well.

If you have a list of accounts that you’ve opened, you can check it periodically to make sure that you’ve received any refunds or payouts that you were expecting.

Promptly Cash Checks

If you receive a check, deposit or cash it right away so that it doesn’t sit around. Otherwise, you may forget or lose the check.

Remember, even small checks add up! Don’t delay just because a check has a small amount. All together, those small checks add up to big balances over the course of a lifetime.

Respond Promply

If you receive a letter or email about a dormant account, don’t ignore it! As long as it’s legitimate, this could help you claim your cash faster.

Of course, scams are everywhere these days, so it’s important to always check this communication against your list of accounts before you respond.

Check the Database Frequently

Unclaimed cash appears all the time. Make sure you check the unclaimed funds database frequently so you don’t miss any checks. I check it at least twice a year.

You can set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar so you don’t forget. It only takes a moment but you never know what you might find!

What happens if my dead relative has unclaimed money?

So what happens to the unclaimed funds if they’re never collected? Although the funds can be used to fund government projects, the money must be available to the person it belongs to if it is ever claimed. 

West Virginia’s deputy treasurer for unclaimed property said that “The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it.”


States are holding on to billions of dollars in unclaimed money. This money comes from many different places, including forgotten deposits and unused gift certificates. You can search and file a claim for free, so this is an easy way to get more money in your account.


Wednesday 4th of October 2023


Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 4th of October 2023

Hi. You'll need to check the links in the article to find out. We only provide the information on where to look.


Tuesday 13th of December 2022

I lost both my legs and had multiple fractures in the shoulder and left hand,

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Hi Vijay. This info on this page may be useful: