GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When we do stories on unclaimed property, a lot of people ask why everything from forgotten cable and utility deposits to unclaimed insurance premiums ends up with the state.
We took those questions to the South Carolina Treasurer’s Office. We also talked to a Greenville woman who was shocked to learn her money had been waiting for her for more than a decade.
When Caroline Caldwell was starting up her non-profit New Mind Health & Care 12 years ago, she applied for a loan.
“To apply for the business loan, I had to put down collateral. And it was $1,000 collateral, and I paid the loan off and completely forgot that I had secured the loan, I completely forgot,” Caldwell said.
And even this past summer when she heard about the unclaimed properties program, she said the 2010 collateral was the furthest thing from her mind.
“I went to the website, and it was like, poof, you have money. And I was like ‘What? I have money?’ And it was like close to $1,000,” exclaimed Caldwell.
But how did that money end up at the treasurer’s office? We took that question to Curtis Loftis himself.
“Certain money has to come back at certain times, so like an inheritance may take 10 years to get to you, whereas a water deposit may take three years and those are all set by law. What we do is try to make sure that it’s not one day longer than it needs to be reported to us,” said Loftis.
In other words, banks and companies who can’t track you down can keep the money only for a set amount of time until they are required by law to turn it over to the state.
The state will hold onto the unclaimed property indefinitely until an owner comes forward. And during that time the state can collect on any interest on investments.
Now, if you think the state is simply holding onto a lot of money, think again. Since Treasurer Loftis took office in 2010, the unclaimed property program has returned more than $259 million to South Carolinians. And the office told 7NEWS that is more than all state treasurers combined.
Even those who know how it works, never imagine the state can acquire so much in the fund. The state treasurer’s office said it has $750 million worth of unclaimed property in South Carolina, alone.
How To Search
All you have to do is enter your name at the SC Treasurer’s Office website. Or search any state for free through www.missingmoney.com.
- 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).