GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When it comes to unclaimed cash, every once in a while, there is an amount owed that is so large, it makes for quite the story.

A retired Greenville man, who made a very smart investment when he was in college, is sharing his story so that you might be compelled to search for your own unclaimed property.

Carl Sykes said he was taught – from an early age – the importance of investing.

“It’s just the way we were raised. Invest and look for the long-term,” Sykes said.

In 1987, Sykes was a senior in college and decided to buy some General Mills stock.

“It would have maybe been $100. And then General Mills just split and divided and made so many more shares. And that was 30 years ago,” said Sykes.

It wasn’t until a friend of Sykes’ convinced him to check for unclaimed property that he discovered not just the missing stock but also how much it had gained.

The $100 investment had grown to more than $100,000 in those three decades.

“When I found out it was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I need to follow up on this. I need to claim this,'” said Sykes.

If you want to check online, you can use the national site to check just about any state. Or you can search the unclaimed property page specific to South Carolina.

If you have a claim, the treasurer’s office has tried to simplify the paperwork. After you create claim, the site provides a link to securely upload documentation. Another button allows you to then check the status.

“There are different tiers. And of course the more money it is, you’re going to have to do a lot more work for a million dollars than $300, but we’ve thought through that. We tried to play the game,” SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis said.

It’s important to note: there is no cost to search or claim these funds, so don’t use any website that tries to charge you for these services.

As for Sykes, he used the money to swap his old mini van for his first ever new truck, and still had extra to pay off debt.

“We were fortunate in a good choice of a stock,” he said with a smile.

If you think Carl Sykes got a big check, the treasurer’s office said the biggest claim ever in South Carolina was paid out in 2010 for about $1 million.

How to Search

Simple is the key word, since all you have to do is enter your name at the SC Treasurer’s Office website.

Or search any state for free through

  • Just enter you name on in the search field on the homepage
  • Select the state in the drop down
  • Look for a current or prior address
  • And if you see one that might be yours, press claim

(We should note, if your state is not listed in bold you can still select it and get a link right to that state’s unclaimed property site).