Unclaimed Money: 'GMA' Readers Share How They Got Their Cash!

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How You Can Find Money

There are billions of dollars waiting to be claimed. Fortunately, searching to see if some of that money belongs to you is easy thanks to the internet. Most unclaimed money is held by the states, but some is housed with Federal agencies. In both instances, the government is earning interest on YOUR money. Here's how you can search to claim what's rightfully yours:

Miscellaneous Money

If you are searching for things like forgotten apartment security deposits, un-cashed overtime checks, lost insurance refunds or abandoned safe deposit boxes, your first stop is the states. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has set up a free website,www.unclaimed.org that will link you to the appropriate department in your state that holds the funds. NAUPA also endorses a free but on a commercially-run site called www.missingmoney.com. Be sure to search every state where you've lived and every name you have had.

Unclaimed Savings Bonds

It's easy for savings bonds to go unclaimed since they take 30 to 40 years to mature. That's why the Treasury Department has set up a simple search website, http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_treasuryhunt.htm where you can find forgotten bonds by typing in your social security number. Certain bonds are not listed online and require a hand search. You can read about them at the same Treasury link.

Federal Tax Refunds

Everybody looks forward to getting an income tax refund check, but if yours didn't arrive, what do you do? The IRS now provides a "Where's my Refund?" feature on its website. You can look up your missing check by entering the amount you are owed plus your social security number. That website is: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html?portlet=4

Lost Life Insurance Policies

The proceeds of lost life insurance policies may turn up in your state search. If not, and you suspect you are the beneficiary of a loved one's lost life insurance policy, you can hire a company called MIB Solutions to search for you. MIB is a private company that houses life insurance application information for much of the industry. It costs $75 to search. Go to www.mibsolutions.com.

Failed Bank Accounts

If you didn't collect your money when your bank went under, chances are your account was insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the FDIC is holding your money. Find out, here: www2.fdic.gov/funds/index.aspx.

If your money was in a credit union as it failed, the National Credit Union Association can help you. Check out: www.ncua.gov/resources/assetmgmtcenter/unclaimed.aspx.

Misplaced Pensions

If you are owed a pension from a company that went under, simple, there is a Federal agency that safeguards private pensions. Go to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporations website at: http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/trusteed/plans.html.

If your company still exists, or has been bought out, you need to approach the company directly. If you need help, another Federal agency, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, is charged with making sure retirement money is reunited with its rightful owners. EBRI even sues to seize the money sometimes: www.dol.gov/ebsa/.

Lost 401(k)s

Sometimes when people leave a job, they leave behind a 401(k) as well. If the company goes out of business, that only compounds the confusion. Fortunately, companies that administer 401(k) plans have teamed up to create a search engine you can try. Here it is: www.unclaimdretirementbenefits.com.

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