Reed Seeks to Help RIers Cash In on Unclaimed Money & Property Using Online Databases
WASHINGTON, DC -- Americans are missing out on a fortune in unclaimed property and lost or forgotten retirement accounts, according to a new study.
In an effort to help Rhode Islanders cash in on potentially millions of dollars in unclaimed or abandoned funds, U.S. Senator Jack Reed is reminding Rhode Islanders they can use federal and state tools to search for money they are owed. Reed also says it is important to take proper precautions to avoid scams.
Nationwide, billions in lost financial assets are waiting to be reclaimed by citizens who likely don’t know they may be owed money from state and federal “unclaimed property,” which can include uncashed paychecks, refunds, forgotten bank accounts, stocks, insurance benefits, and more that may belong to them or a deceased family member. Over $3 billion was paid out in 2022, with the average person receiving $2,080, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
State and federal unclaimed property laws require corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed financial property after there has been no customer contact for three years.
According to NAUPA, one in seven Americans has unclaimed property.
“This money doesn’t belong to the government or banks, it belongs to people like you. Searching is free and only takes a few minutes. If you have unclaimed assets you can file a claim,” said Senator Reed. “I want to help get this money back to its rightful owners. So I’m helping to spread the word about opportunities at the federal and state level to search for unclaimed property. At the state level, I commend Treasurer Diossa for ramping up efforts to reach wider audiences and Attorney General Neronha for cracking down on scammers.”
More than 300,000 Rhode Islanders and local businesses have property waiting to be returned to them, according to Rhode Island’s Office of the General Treasurer, and many don’t even realize it until they search the state’s database and find their missing money.
The federal government uses several web-based databases for unclaimed federal tax returns, unpaid pensions or wages, retirement accounts, and Veterans Affairs Life Insurance funds, and more, including:
Rhode Island’s official unclaimed property web site is: https://treasury.ri.gov/programs/unclaimed-property and the state’s Unclaimed Property Office can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, NAUPA and the National Association of State Treasurers, endorse a user-friendly site: https://missingmoney.com
This site aims to “facilitate the return of unclaimed money to the rightful owner” using a multi-state database platform to search and claim forgotten funds.
In the interest of consumer safety, Reed recommends users who first go to MissingMoney.com to check to see if they have unclaimed property to then contact the appropriate state or federal government (.gov) web site directly to ensure a safe, verified claim process.
When filing a claim form, residents should be prepared to provide documentation, such as their current photo ID, as well as a copy of their Social Security card or a tax identification number. Claimants may also need specific documentation relating to the type of property held in your name.
Sensitive personal information of this nature should only be shared with trusted, verified government agencies. And the State of Rhode Island Unclaimed Property Division notes it: “DOES NOT communicate with members of the public via text message. ANY TEXT MESSAGE REGARDING UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION FROM THE STATE AND SHOULD BE TREATED WITH EXTREME CAUTION. Recipients are advised to ignore or delete these text messages.”