Whenever you don’t pickup a paycheck, utility bill refund or rental deposit, it doesn’t get thrown away. Instead, it’s turned over to the unclaimed property fund in your your state and waits silently for you to claim it. For some reason this is poorly advertised, but each state has a searchable online database of these records (SEE: below). If you find that your state has money for you, all you have to do is fill out a form and they’ll send you your money, free, no questions asked.
The accumulation of these individual debts is mind boggling. I couldn’t find a national total, but New York state’s site claims to be holding over $13 billion in unclaimed funds, Idaho claims to have $120 million. Celebrities also have a ton of money tied up in this system (In Maine, Stephen King has ‘over $100’ in unclaimed wages from Walt Disney, Arnold Schwarzenegger has .15¢ in unclaimed funds with California.)
What are you waiting for? Search your kids, search your wife, search your cousins, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, everyone you know. Go to this Federal government website or search my homegrown list of State Unclaimed Property Databases here: