Federal and state governments are sitting on billions of dollars of money that doesn't belong to them and that, odd as it may seem, they would rather give to its rightful owner. The money includes abandoned bank accounts, refunds from fraud cases, unclaimed pensions, tax rebates, insurance refunds and a quite a number of other sizable pots of cash. If you can demonstrate that you're the rightful owner, the money is yours.
Unclaimed Money and Property
This site, run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, consolidates information from most states and a number of provinces in Canada. Unclaimed money and property includes funds from bank accounts, safe deposit box contents, stocks, uncashed checks, utility company deposits, escrow accounts and others.
Search for unclaimed money or property by entering your name in the relevant fields. Enter a single state or province to search, or type in "ZZ" to search all states and provinces at once.
Click on a record for more information if your search produces results. The process for recovering unclaimed funds is different in each state, so follow the instructions provided with each record to begin the process for your unclaimed property.
Search for your name at the "Unclaimed Funds" page at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for additional records of unclaimed funds from closed banks. If your name is in the records, fill out the "FDIC Claimant Verification Form" that is linked to at the site, and submit it to claim your funds.
Check the Unclaimed Deposits at the National Credit Union Administration. The administration maintains a list of deposits that have not been returned to the correct owners. Use the form at their website to file a claim if you find your name on the list.
Mortgage Insurance Refunds
Check the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's webpage, "Does HUD Owe You a Refund?"
Holders of certain government-insured mortgages are due a refund on part of their payments.
Search for your name in the HUD case files.
Call the HUD hotline at 1-800-697-6967 if your name is on the list, and the customer service representative will assist you in filing a refund claim.
Search for your name at the "Who are we looking for?" website of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation at www.pbgc.gov/.
This government agency holds pension funds from some companies that could no longer manage the pensions on their own.
Compile your records if your name is on the list. Along with providing your name, address and Social Security number, you will need to detail the dates you worked at the company that established the pension.
Contact PBGC at 1-800-326-LOST to claim your missing pension. You can also e-mail the agency at email@example.com or write them at:
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation P.O. Box 151750 Alexandria, Va. 22315-9923
David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.