Closeup background of money banknote hundred dollars

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Do you ever get the feeling that you're missing something? That nagging suspicion that there's something out there with your name on it, but you just don't know where to find it? Well, if you've ever had that feeling about unclaimed property or money, this treasure-hunting tool might just be your new best friend. 

What is is a website that allows individuals to search for unclaimed property or money that may be owed to them. The website is operated and endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), a non-profit organization that represents state governments that hold unclaimed property until it can be returned to its rightful owner.

In the United States, it's estimated that billions of dollars in unclaimed money are being held by state and federal governments. This unclaimed money comes from a variety of sources, including forgotten bank accounts and security deposits, unclaimed tax refunds, uncashed paychecks, and insurance payouts. According to NAUPA, there are currently over $42 billion in unclaimed assets

Despite the mind-warping amount of unclaimed dollars out there, many people are unaware that they could be entitled to a piece of the pie. In fact, it's estimated that only a fraction of those who have unclaimed property actually know to locate and claim it. This is due in part to a lack of awareness of the issue, as well as the time and effort required to search for and claim it.

However, the process is actually quite easy. Thanks to increased efforts by state governments to raise awareness on unclaimed property, more people are becoming aware of their potential windfall and learning how to claim what's rightfully theirs. We'll walk you through the steps of using MissingMoney to find any unclaimed money that's owed to you. 

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How does work?

The process for searching for unclaimed money on MissingMoney is relatively simple. Users can type in their first and last name (or business name) into the search bar on the homepage, along with their city and state of residence. The website then filters the user's information against a database of unclaimed property and money held by state governments. If a match is found, the portal will provide information about the property, such as the amount, the name of the holder, and instructions on how to claim it. Once claimed, the owed amount will typically be mailed to your home in the form of a check. 

It's worth noting, however, that not all types of unclaimed property are searchable on the site. For example, unclaimed retirement accounts, pension benefits, and other types of unclaimed property held by the federal government are not included in the database. In addition, some states may not participate in the NAUPA program, and users with unclaimed property in those states may be directed to another site to search for unclaimed property or will be advised to contact their state's unclaimed property office for more information. 

Is there a catch? 

  • Do I Have to Pay to Use The Service? There are no costs associated with searching for and filing a claim through MissingMoney, the site says. When you file a claim through its portal, you are directly filing with the state where the property is held, and MissingMoney should never charge you any fees. 

  • Do I Need to Submit My Social Security Number (SSN)? That depends on the state where the property is being claimed. In most states, providing your SSN is necessary before you can receive payment for your claim. In addition, submitting your SSN at the time of filing may make you eligible for fast-track claim processes offered by certain states, says the site. MissingMoney also ensures the protection of your personal information by utilizing top-notch encryption technology. Once the information is sent to the respective state, it is permanently removed from MissingMoney's database. 

Winner winner, chicken dinner or just a nugget?

While the idea of finding unclaimed money may seem like a quick and easy way to make some extra cash, it's important to manage expectations. The amounts of unclaimed property can vary widely — with some individuals finding only a few dollars — while others may find thousands. It's also worth noting that the process of claiming unclaimed property can be time-consuming, requiring the submission of various forms and documentation to prove your identity and ownership of the property.

Pink piggybank stuffed with dollar billsPhoto credit: MarsBars/istockphoto

The Bottom Line

MissingMoney can be a useful tool for individuals looking to search for unclaimed property or money that may be owed to them. However, it's important to note that not all types of unclaimed property are included in the database, and the process of claiming property or money can be somewhat time-consuming. 

It's also important to be wary of scam sites that claim to offer similar services. When in doubt, refrain from giving out personal information such as your social security number, credit cards, phone number, date of birth, and mailing address.

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