Checking your state government website for outstanding debts owed to you easy
Odds are you currently have outstanding money that is owed to you and I would be willing to wager that you certainly have a family member or friend who does. No this isn’t a scam - it’s called unclaimed property and states return billions of dollars to citizens annually. In fact, approximately 1 in 10 individuals are estimated to have unclaimed property outstanding in their name (I believe this number to be higher if you are younger than 50).
In fact, stop reading right now and go to https://www.missingmoney.com/en/ (or the unclaimed property website for a current or former state in which you have resided) and search for your name or a family member or friends name.
There could be a million different scenarios in which you might have outstanding money that is owed to you. You could have accidentally overpaid a Comcast bill or you might have waived a student org fee at university but paid the amount on accident prior to the charge being removed. Given the wide variety of cases in which a balance could eventually be flagged as unclaimed property, I try to check unclaimed property sites for states that I’ve lived every year or so. To-date, I’ve been able to file two separate claims totaling roughly $100. Obviously this isn’t a ton of money, but given how easy it is to claim these balances and receive a check for the outstanding amount you’d be silly not to claim them. Furthermore, I’ve identified nearly $1,000 owed to family members and friends.
I also believe that unclaimed property is going to affect more people, more often in the future for three primary reasons:
- The available apps and services that are not only available but actually used by consumers continues to grow. Historically, you might have just had a Bank of America account that contained your checking, savings, and investments. Now a single individual might have Robinhood, Acorns, Paypal, Venmo, Marcus, and more in addition to their primary banking accounts. All of these apps provide an additional opportunity for assets to become unclaimed at some point.
- Newer methods of payments make it easier to pay, but also make it easier to overpay. Autopay, scheduled pay, and mobile pay all reduce friction when it comes to ensuring that you don’t miss a payment. These newer forms of payment however also make it easier to overpay which can result in unclaimed property especially when the overpayment occurs around the time of an account closure.
- As a society we are becoming more mobile. We are moving more frequently and jumping jobs more often. These changes provide opportunities for unclaimed property to occur in the form of a negative balance with your apartment, internet provider, or utilities company.
So keep an eye out and make sure to check unclaimed property sites every so often. The likelihood that you have money outstanding in your name is only becoming more prevalent.
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