V: Thanks Alexander – great to be here!
A: Recently Vienna received a letter in the mail saying that the State was holding unclaimed funds in her name. The letter further stated that if she sent in $30, she would receive additional information on how to claim the money due to her.
V: That’s right Alexander – and at first I thought it was a total scam!
A: But I have heard that companies are required to turn over unclaimed funds to the State after a certain period of time, if the recipient of the funds can’t be tracked down. However, while thankful for the company “informing” Vienna of the situation, this information would most likely be publicly available without first requiring her to pay a $30 fee just to learn more about it.
V: After a few minutes of “google”ing, we came across the New York State Office of the State Comptroller’s website, and we found exactly what we were looking for! At the top right of the page, a button stated “Unclaimed Funds – click here to search for lost funds”!
V: So, on the “New York State Unclaimed Funds” page, I entered my name and city, and low and behold a couple of unclaimed fund entries popped up in my name! To claim the funds, all I had to do was fill out a simple form, and have a licensed notary attest that I was the one entitled to receive the money.
A: And on top of that, NO ADDITIONAL FEES WHATSOEVER WERE CHARGED BY THE STATE! I’m sure they’ve made plenty already on all the interest they’ve collected on the BILLIONS of dollars worth of unclaimed funds they handle!
V: That’s certainly true!
A: Apparently, funds that appear here include money from unclaimed Savings Accounts, Checking Accounts, Uncashed Checks, Telephone/Utility Deposits, Rental Security Deposits, Wages, Insurance Benefits/Policies, Safe Deposit Box Contents, Mortgage Insurance Refunds, Stocks and Dividends, Mutual Funds, Certificates of Deposit, Trust Funds, and Estate Proceeds. If there’s been no activity in an account for a set period of time, usually between two and five years, your money is considered unclaimed or abandoned, and by law must be turned over to the State of New York. Other states have similar policies, so simply research on the web what recourse may exist for you in your particular state. [There are also groups such as NAUPA that easily help you find and locate lost funds by consolidating searches nationwide for free!]
V: On the website, it says that fund requests can take up to 90 days to be processed. However, in this case, I received my lost funds within just two weeks from the time I sent in the paperwork!
A: So, if you do receive one of these letters in the mail asking you to pay to learn about money owed to you, don’t send ‘em a dime, be thankful for the “head’s up!”, and make a beeline to your local State Comptroller’s website and see what you can find!
V: Either way, there’s no downside and all upside to take 5 minutes out of your busy day to search if anyone has left you money you didn’t even know you had!
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