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Treasure Hunting on the internet

Two words "Unclaimed Property". Virtually every state and most Canadian Providences have a Department of Unclaimed property for its citizens. These departments all have databases that contain property like forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, retirement accounts, insurance claims, mislabeled checks, and other things. The databases are accessible over the internet. Access is free, and while the recovery process might be administratively grueling, there should be a way for you to get your property back.

Now the idea part. The internet savvy crowd is very use to using search engines. Search tips like not being too specific in your searches, wild cards, variations in spelling, titles, etc. is just part of daily life. However, there are many folks without this skill set, or even access to the internet, often parents or grandparents. So I highly recommend searching family names, maiden names, etc. Search for your family and friends and tell them if you find something.

Now the fun part. Search your churches, charities, business, and governments. You will not believe the number of hits on searches like "City of", "State of", "Department of", "County of", "Fort", "Navy", "Naval", "Army", "Air Force", "Commonwealth of", "Country of", State names, Country names, even common acronyms. It is very easy to understand that through personnel churn, lost paperwork, or changes in administrations these accounts might become lost. My favorite find was seeing two accounts for the department of unclaimed property in my home state's unclaimed property database!

Here is a good link to get started:

http://www.unclaimed.org/

Evey place I have posted this link, someone has come back and said they found something. I would be curious to hear back. Sort of living vicariously through other treasure hunters.

Be careful, it is addicting.

Good Luck!

  • Feb 11 2013: Lot of people do this...sort of taking advantage of people, but if you are not internet savvy, perhaps it is worth the risk.
  • Feb 10 2013: Very interesting. Unfortunately I'm still just as broke now as I was when I did the search. No results for me or family members.

    What would the legalities be for a recovery business to help people get these funds? I understand it may be questionable but if someone came to me saying I had unclaimed funds that I didn't know about I would be happy to give them a percentage to help out. After all I didn't know about it anyways so it's not costing me anything. Seems like an internet sleuth could make a lot of money and help folks at the same time.
  • Jan 13 2013: I remember when our local news did a spread on our state site for unclaimed funds.

    My sister and I went on the site....and lo and behold, she had some mula being held from a previous job.

    But, and here's the sad part.......she didn't want to be bothered filling out the form you needed to file in order to get her funds. So the money is still there, sitting in some account, in our state's treasury.

    Tsk Tsk.....

    Thanks for sharing the site Robert! I'll have to remind my sister she has that money there!!
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