10 Sources of Unclaimed Money

State Treasuries
Items left in safe deposit boxes might end up in the state treasury. anthonyjhall/iStock/Thinkstock

The bulk of unclaimed money is held by individual states. Under state laws, cash and property held by banks, insurance companies and other businesses for more than five years without any activity is considered "unclaimed" and must be turned over to the state treasury [source: PA Treasury]. Examples of unclaimed property held by states include:

  • bank account balances and safe deposit box contents
  • uncashed checks and wages from former employers
  • unclaimed life insurance benefits
  • items left in police departments as stolen property
  • utility deposits

Each state holds hundreds of millions to even billions of dollars in unclaimed cash and property. The fastest way to search all of the state coffers at once is to use MissingMoney.com. This searchable database is backed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) in cooperation with all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The NAUPA operates its own site, unclaimed.org, which also has links to individual state treasury databases.