Skip to main content

How to Find Your Unclaimed Property Using an Online Search

Stephanie has been an online writer for eight years. Her articles focus on everything from RVing to rock collecting.

How I Got $100 Sent to Me

I got $100 without doing much. I'm amazed, to say the least!

Like many of those who browse the internet, I'm always on the lookout for ways to get some extra cash. A few weeks ago I was wandering around the cyberspace and came across one of those ads for unclaimed property. I've passed up these ads before because there are so many promises of quick cash that come to nothing, but this time I decided to do a little more research.

If you've lost something or haven't got a refund that was owed to you, you may be able to get that money back.

If you've lost something or haven't got a refund that was owed to you, you may be able to get that money back.

You Should Not Have to Pay to Check for Your Unclaimed Property

Although there are companies you can pay to do searches for your unclaimed property, there are many free sites that you can easily search on your own. There are sites to look for VA benefits, lost U.S. Savings Bonds and even international unclaimed money.

A good place to start your search is on the NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property) site. NAUPA is a free government website which is affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers. This database can link to any state that has an online searchable database for unclaimed funds.

The Search Only Takes a Few Minutes.

To start out, enter your last name and current state of residence into the search field. If nothing comes up, try again using only your last name. Don't forget to try any other names you may have used like a maiden name or married name that you no longer use.

If you've lived in different states as I have, check out each state individually. This is very easy to do on The Missing Money website. Start by entering your last name and current state of residence in the Missing Money search field. If this initial search doesn't turn up anything, the site will suggest going to the individual state database for which a link is provided. From there try other states where you've lived, using your name and your spouse's name. I found that I got more information by using just my last name, then I could scroll through the hits to see if any of the addresses matched.

There Really Is Unclaimed Money

The money may come from many different sources: uncashed rebate or other checks; unclaimed security deposits; extra interest; uncashed dividend or payroll checks; refunds; traveler's checks; insurance payments; customer over payments of utility bills; unclaimed inheritances and more. In some states, you can even get refunds for unused gift certificates.

I Found My Name and There Was Unclaimed Money!

In a few minutes, I was delighted and surprised to see my name pop up in South Dakota's unclaimed funds' database. At first I couldn't imagine why I would have unclaimed funds, but eventually, I remembered that a rebate check for a cell phone I had purchased years ago never arrived. The website didn't tell me exactly how much money was there or where it originated but did give me a link to download and print a claim form. O.K., that sounded pretty easy. The one-page form asked for some basic information as well as proof that I had resided at the address in their database and proof of ID. In a few minutes I had filled it out, made copies of pertinent information and sent it off to the State Treasurer of South Dakota. What did I have to lose except the cost of a stamp?

Submit Proof of Residency to Make Sure Your Check Arrives

Two requirements for making a claim are to claim proof of residency in the state where you found your unclaimed money and proof of your ID. My money was fairly easy to claim because I had proof of my residency in South Dakota and proof of my ID. Claiming money from a state of residence where you resided many years ago might be harder, especially if you don't have proof of your residence. But even so, I think it could be done.

Four weeks after I sent in my request, I received a check for $100 from the South Dakota State Treasurer! The mystery of where it came from was not ever solved as they didn't tell me in their letter, but, hey, I'll take it anyway!

Good luck with your search for unclaimed property! Start with the NAUPA site, then check out the links below, too. They're all free and easy.

  • The Internal Revenue Service. The IRS may have an undeliverable refund check that belongs to you: U.S. Federal Tax refund checks.
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. If your pension plan no longer exists, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has a searchable database which will help you determine whether you are owed any pension benefits.
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). A resource website to search for any unclaimed insured deposits for financial institutions that were closed by a regulatory agency between Jan. 1, 1989 and June 28, 1993.
  • U.S. Savings Bonds. Go to Missing U.S. Federal Savings Bonds to see if you can reclaim missing U.S. Savings Bonds. You can also download forms to cash Bonds in the name of someone who is deceased at
  • Veterans Administration Benefits. Search for unclaimed veterans benefits owed to you by the federal government.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Stephanie Henkel


ladybugs777 on April 14, 2019:

Hmm, that's interesting. I've also thought those side ads were schemes, but I'll start taking them into consideration.

Brian on August 07, 2018:

I want 100dollars

Scroll to Continue

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 05, 2017:

Camille - That's wonderful! I'm so glad that your search for unclaimed money was so successful!

Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on November 05, 2017:

Stephanie! I found I was owed $55! Thank you! I'm going to send your article to my friends and family :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on October 28, 2013:

Harris - Glad this information was helpful to you.

Harris on October 27, 2013:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your kind information about the hub on free money on online search information.Hope we will received kind instructions from you. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,


Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on March 26, 2013:

Joanwz - I wish you luck in discovering some free money! I know I was delighted when I found some and received a check a few weeks later. It never hurts to try. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment! Let me know if you discover some unclaimed money. :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on March 26, 2013:

Jainismus - Thanks for reading and commenting on my article on Free Money! Thanks also for the votes and share!

Joan Whetzel on March 26, 2013:

thanks for this information. I will go check online myself.

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on March 26, 2013:

Thank you for sharing this great information. Voted up and shared.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 26, 2012:

Mala Srivastava - Glad you found my hub on Free Money through an Online Search informative!

Mala Srivastava from India on May 26, 2012:

very informative hub. Well done.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 22, 2012:

Hi Linda,

Getting some money back once was quite a pleasant surprise. You might want to check back once a year or so just in case something turns up. I do check periodically - you never know!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 22, 2012:

Thank you for your support, Craftybird! :)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 22, 2012:

I checked a couple of months ago. Nothing for me. Congrats on your find!:)

craftybird from Toronto, Ontario on April 22, 2012:

Well said, Stephanie!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 22, 2012:

Well, Arnold, my title seems to have drawn you here to read my article on how to get back unclaimed funds...or at least enticed you to leave a comment. Thanks!

Arnold on April 22, 2012:

i can't believe bloggers' formatting of article titles.. sooo desperate to drive people to your content sooo crying for those cents!! Gooosh

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 21, 2011:

Craftybird - That's too bad. I see that some of the other Provinces have searches available. But thanks for stopping by to let us know about Ontario.

craftybird from Toronto, Ontario on November 21, 2011:

Very cool! Sucks that Ontario doesn't allow unclaimed funds, though!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 20, 2011:

Millionaire Tips - It never hurts to check! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Shasta Matova from USA on November 20, 2011:

Congratulations! When I worked at the bank we had to escheat any money that was sitting around for a while (is it five years, I can't remember now). So I check with the state treasury every year. I did get a small check once.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 20, 2011:

HikeGuy - Doesn't hurt to give it a try! Hope you are pleasantly surprised!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 20, 2011:

Oceansnsunsets - It was a nice surprise when I got that $100! I really didn't believe that it could be that easy. Good Luck!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 20, 2011:

DzyMsLizzy- I'm thinking I should try it again. You never know what could turn up. Give it a shot! Thanks for stopping by MsLizzy!

Bryce from Northern California Coast on November 20, 2011:

Happy to find this. I've always been skeptical -- having the link to check it out for free is great. Thanks for this.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on November 20, 2011:

Wow, this is very interesting Stephanie! I am so happy for you, and hope that it happens again for you. Woohoo! Have to look into this more, hmm :)

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 20, 2011:

Awesome! I've bookmarked that website--like you, I doubt I'll find anything, but as you say..what's to lose?

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on January 13, 2011:

Thanks for commenting, Shawna. It was a great surprise!

shawna.wilson from Arizona on January 13, 2011:

Wow, what a nice surprise! $100 can go a long way!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on January 02, 2011:

Thanks for commenting, Denise. It's good to know that others are actually getting back their lost money!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on January 01, 2011:

Great hub Stephanie. I know quite a few people who have cashed in on their 'lost' money. :)

katrinasui on December 20, 2010:

Congrats on your free money. You may help others to discover some free money.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 21, 2010:

It is amazing! Thanks for checking out my hub!

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on November 21, 2010:

Congratulations on your 'free' money Stephanie. Its amazing what information sources there are on the internet these days

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 09, 2010:

Isn't it fun to locate some "free" money even if it's for someone else? Thanks for stopping by Jaye and Peggy!

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on November 08, 2010:

I immediately checked out three states I've lived in with two different last names. There was no unclaimed property awaiting me; however, I can now notify my nephew that the state treasurer's office has some money for him. I will enjoy giving him that good news. JAYE

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

What a nice surprise! You may just help others to discover some free money. Rating this useful. Thanks!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 28, 2010:

Hi Stephanie,

What a great title that should perk the interest of a lot of readers! Your instructions were very easy to follow and I felt comfortable doing so because you had completed the process yourself. Unfortunately I didn't have any unclaimed money, but as you said, it only took a few minutes to check into it. Thanks for sharing.

Related Articles