GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Across the nation more than $7 billion in unclaimed property is sitting at state treasurers’ offices, waiting for people to claim their money, for free.
Yet, many people don’t realize things like dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, forgotten utility deposits and unclaimed insurance policies all end up at these state offices.
So, we took to the streets of Greenville. We found nearly half of the random 20 people we spoke with had some type of unclaimed cash.
Take Stephen and Lisa Howes for instance. This couple had already checked three years ago when they lived in Iowa, and they did find missing money. They never thought our search would turn up more.
“It’s like Christmas all over again,” Lisa Howes said with a laugh.
And their claim amount said “over $100” which means it can be any amount over $100.
Nationwide, one in 10 people have unclaimed cash. At missingmoney.com, you can check just about any place you’ve lived (and if your state is not highlighted, clicking it in the dropdown will still take you to that state’s treasurer’s office). Some sites may try to charge you, but this one is supported by dozens of state treasurers’ offices and is totally free.
The average payout is $500, but sometimes it’s no more than $10.
We found an “under $100” listing for David Solar from Florida.
“OK, that’s my E-pass, so it’s a small amount of money, and I probably won’t claim it,” said Solar.
Others wouldn’t dream of leaving money on the table, like Shawn Salley in Greenville.
We showed him he had $46.77 owed to him from an old telecommunications deposit.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “I’ll spend it on my new puppy.”
Don’t Just Search For Yourself
Don’t stop at simply searching for just yourself. You can put in any name, state and city across America (leaving the city out may even make the search easier).
We searched Vivian Huffman’s last name and found a deceased relative.
“That was my father-in-law,” she said, realizing some of his estate money had clearly not been given to family.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis said the estates of deceased family are not settled nearly as cleanly as people think.
“And money will show up 3 years, 5 years and 10 years after the estate is settled. So, if your father or grandfather died 10-12 years ago, make sure to check their name. Check their wives’ names,” said Curtis.
And once you know how much you’re owed and why, the only question to answer is how to spend it.
If you need a little inspiration, 7NEWS asked the SC Treasurer’s Office about the largest property waiting to be claimed in the Upstate. The answer: $220,000. And for South Carolina in general, it’s $490,000.
How to find your money
To search your name or anyone you know in South Carolina:
- Go to https://treasurer.sc.gov/
- Click the green “Unclaimed Property” button in the upper right corner
- Click “Search for Unclaimed Property”
- Type in your last and first names (no city needed unless you have a very common name) and then press search
- If you see an address you’ve had, click “claim” and follow the process