My friends and I have shared various online chats since 2001, but we didn't discover Slack wasn't until 2015. It's now a program I couldn't live without. Goofing off and sharing links throughout the day with each other is so easy, even as we're spread across the globe.
A while back, one of the Slack rooms lit when a buddy of mine found an old link on Reddit about free unclaimed money. The following conversation ensued:
We laughed and my buddy proceeded to call his dad to walk him through claiming his $113. It was only later that it struck me. If one of my good friends didn't know about this page on HIF detailing how to search for unclaimed money, then I bet a ton of readers who haven't been with HIF since Day 1 don't know about it either!
So I decided to dust off this old post and republish it in the hopes that more Hiffers could find some free cash!
Wait, Free Money? What's the Catch?
Long story short, there are a few websites where you can search your name for unclaimed money you're entitled to. This could be money from bank errors, back pay from past jobs or employers, money from stocks, or from a myriad of other ways for money to be owed to you.
If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it's unclaimed. This also applies to banks, credit unions, utilities, pensions, and stocks, and many other sources.
As you can see, my buddy found $100 for his dad from a tax rebate he was owed from the mid-90s. The most I've ever found for myself was an $8 check from Verizon. But hey, it was something!
Find Unclaimed Money
The easiest unclaimed money search form is MissingMoney.com. It searches multiple databases at once and is the only officially endorsed aggregate site by the NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators).
Simply enter your name and state and click “Go.” You should also search for any state you've previously lived, worked, or owned property in. If a match is found, you can complete a form that confirms your identity
However, as with most “one size fits all” solutions, it works for most people but not all people. The site doesn't work for citizens in CA, CT, DE, GA, HI, KS, OR, PA, WA, or WY. Similarly, even if you live in a participating state, it's no guarantee that MissingMoney.com has your info.
That's why your next stop should be this US Government official unclaimed money guide. They breakdown all of the individual sites you can search for unclaimed money.
While the government doesn't have a central website for locating unclaimed money, they do have specific areas to look based on where the money is coming from.
States' Unclaimed Money
- Search by State – Search your state's listing of unclaimed funds and property.
Unclaimed Back Wages
- Unpaid Wages – If you think you may be owed back wages from your employer, search the Wage and Hour Division's (WHD's) database of workers for whom it has money waiting to be claimed. WHD is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
- VA Life Insurance Funds – Search the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for unclaimed insurance funds that are owed to certain current or former policyholders or their beneficiaries. Note: This does not include funds from Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present.
- Pensions from Former Employers – Search for unclaimed pension money from companies that went out of business or ended a defined plan.
- Tax Refunds – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may owe you money if your refund was unclaimed or undelivered.
Banking, Investments, and Currency
- Bank Failures – Search the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for unclaimed funds from failed financial institutions.
- Credit Union Failures – Find unclaimed deposits from credit unions.
- SEC Claims Funds – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists enforcement cases where a company or person owes investors money.
- FHA-Insurance Refunds – If you had an FHA-insured mortgage, you may be eligible for a refund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To search the HUD database, you will need your FHA case number (three digits, a dash, and the next six digits—for example, 051-456789).
- Foreign Claims – U.S. nationals can find money owed to them from foreign governments after loss of property.
Beware Unclaimed Money Scams
Finally, watch out fir people who pretend to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. These scammers use a variety of tricks to get your attention, but their goal is the same: to get you to send them money. Government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides tips on how you can avoid government imposter scams.
Just remember: if somebody asks you to pay for “free” money, then it's not free!
With those tips, hopefully some Hiffers can find some free cash floating around out there. Get started at MissingMoney.com and good luck!