In New York, a little more than half of claims are less than $100. But Loftis also said that most people have a one in four chance of having unclaimed property—not the worst odds.
“Most of the claims are a hundred bucks or something like that,” Loftis told the New York Times. “If it doesn’t mean anything to you, I bet you your church or synagogue would like it, so pick up that money and send it to them.”
Believe it or not, states are holding on to tons of unclaimed cash that could be yours. South Carolina, where this man lives, has more than $500 million in unclaimed money, while New York has more than $14.5 billion and California has $8.4 billion. Illinois says it has $2.8 billion in unclaimed property in its coffers and Texas has $4 billion.
Across the United States, $43 billion in unclaimed money is sitting around, waiting to be reunited with its rightful owner (um, wow!). The money comes from inactive bank accounts or life insurance claims.
So, how can you find out if there’s a big pot of money waiting for you somewhere?
Start by searching for your state’s unclaimed money program or office. Many states make it super easy—all you have to do is type in your name when you find their unclaimed property website.
If you’ve moved around a lot, you can check out the website for Missing Money, a national database that can help you track down unclaimed funds.
Be careful if someone offers to help you track down unclaimed money for a fee—all state government offices will return your money, free of charge, so don’t be fooled into paying someone to help you.