There’s an easy way to find unclaimed funds in your name

Woman holds cash money

If you’ve ever found money in a couch or comfy chair — or the pocket of your of pants — you know what a great feeling that is.

But have you checked with the government for unclaimed property?

The government is sitting on billions of dollars in unclaimed cash, just waiting for owners to come forward.

But when we asked a group of lunchtime diners to look up their names on the national database, we learned that most have never done it.

“No, I have not,” Jordan Toney told us. So she got on her phone, and entered her name.

She couldn’t believe what popped up.

“It looks like there are a few in this area, so I’m assuming they are all me,” she said.

And when she clicked further, she got a pleasant surprise.

“I have $25 to $50 unclaimed,” she said.

Patti Wilson is the Unclaimed Property Administrator for the State of Washington.

“I always tell people, this is like the best job in state government,” she said.

She works every day to help connect people with forgotten money.

“We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars in unclaimed funds that are being held,” Wilson said.

Those funds are things like:

  • Uncashed checks.
  • Insurance payouts.
  • Old apartment or utility deposits.
  • Old stock or bank dividends

If the business can’t find you, by law they have to turn that money over to the government. One-in-seven Americans has abandoned cash, Wilson said.

“Folks think they know every penny and where it’s at. Those are the people that are going to have something out there, is what I found,” she said.

Easy Way to Look for Your Cash

So how can you look up your name?

All you need to do is go to, a site set up by state administrators where you can quickly search your name.

The database will scan every state you’ve lived in for unclaimed funds.

If it finds something, you just need to file a claim, then follow the instructions to prove your identity.

Note that you will have to provide your birth date and Social Security Number, as that is the only way they can tell you from other people with a similar name.

Next thing you know, you might get paid just in time for the holidays.

Jonathan Coleman found “between $50 and $100,” he said. “That’s not bad, that’s money I didn’t have before!”

So give a try, so you don’t waste your money.

By John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

More to explore