What Is Unclaimed Money and How to Find Yours?

May 7th 2016

If you have money that seems to have gone missing, either through your own neglect to collect money from tax refunds or pension money, or because your financial institution has closed, free resources exist to help you claim your missing money. Start with the NAUPA's valuable resources to track down money due you from government or financial institutions.

State Websites

Each state has a list of unclaimed money as well as property. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators provides links to each state's list through its MissingMoney.com website. This site functions as a national database to aggregate unclaimed property listings across the United States. While some firms offer to find unclaimed money for a fee, in fact, they are using the NAUPA's free database and charging for it. You can access both the NAUPA information and that of each state for free.

Credit Unions

The National Credit Union Administration tracks unclaimed money resulting from checks that were never cashed or accounts with missing contact information. If you believe that you are due unclaimed money, search for your name, then file a form and have it notarized to make a claim for the money.

Tax Refunds

If you moved and didn't notify the Internal Revenue Service, your tax refund check may have been returned to the IRS. When this happens, you have three years to claim your money; after that time, the federal government keeps it. Check with the IRS website using the Where's My Refund feature.


Unclaimed money typically exists when the government owes a person money but is unable to find the person to deliver the money. In addition, if a bank or credit union is liquidated, unclaimed money accrues if the customers don't close out their accounts. If an account is left untouched for over a year, it's sometimes treated as abandoned and becomes a repository of unclaimed money. Unclaimed money can also exist in the form of stocks, unclaimed refunds, unredeemed certificates of deposit, unclaimed security deposits and the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes. Several resources provide lists of unclaimed money.

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