Unclaimed money such as uncollected wages, the contents of checking and savings accounts, the proceeds from life insurance policies, utilities deposits, and gift certificates goes to state unclaimed property offices, reports About.com. Other unclaimed funds such as pensions, tax returns and savings bonds go to federal government offices, states USA.gov.
State unclaimed property offices hold billions of dollars in unclaimed money, according to CNN Money. When businesses and financial institutions are unable to locate the owners of unclaimed financial resources, they are legally obliged to turn the money over to the state after a specified period of time. Although the states search for the owners through newspaper ads and websites, much of the money remains unclaimed. There is no limitation on the amount of time states hold the money for the owners, and even heirs may claim it.
Anyone owed an uncollected pension can search for it online, as reported by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, an agency of the U.S. government. The IRS holds unclaimed tax returns and has an online search engine to find them, reports USA.gov. Individuals can search for funds lost through bank failures, credit union failures or enforcement cases involving investors through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The U.S. Department of the Treasury's treasury hunt search engine allows individuals to search for lost savings bonds.