How Do You Recover Lost Money?


Quick Answer

Recover lost money that state governments are holding by locating the money through MissingMoney.com or individual state unclaimed property databases and filing a claim for it. Recover lost money that federal agencies are holding by finding it through the individual agency databases and following the instructions to claim it.

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Full Answer

According to state law, financial institutions and other businesses must turn over lost money to state unclaimed property offices that hold the funds indefinitely and attempt to locate the owners. The property these offices hold includes bank accounts, payroll checks, stocks, insurance payments and life insurance policies. They also hold trust distributions, money orders, cashier's checks and utility security deposits. To search a database of most state unclaimed property offices, go to MissingMoney.com, enter your first and last name and state of residence, and click on Go. To access links to individual state unclaimed property offices, go to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website at Unclaimed.org, and click on the state you want to search on the interactive map.

Because there is no central website to search for lost money that federal agencies are holding, search each agency separately. For instance, search for unpaid back wages through the Wage and Hour Division database on the U.S. Department of Labor website. Search for and claim lost tax refunds through the Internal Revenue Service. Use the search engine at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to locate lost funds from financial institutions that failed. Search a database on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to locate lost refunds from insured mortgages.

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