MONEY: Millions with unclaimed funds in their name; how to find yours!

Posted at 1:29 PM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 16:58:21-05

Millions of people have millions of dollars they don't know about. You may be one of them.

One woman -- whose last name is Rose -- never claimed more than $100,000, according to Hamilton County, Ohio- Treasurer Robert Goering. If you are named Rose, you might want to start checking.

Goering showed us the Holy Grail of free money: Books listing thousands of people who have unclaimed funds in the county.

Where is the money from?

Goering said it can come from anywhere, like "old bank accounts that have been turned over to the state, or it could be insurance proceeds after an accident or fire."

Other times it is utility or apartment deposits, or an inheritance from Aunt Marge.

"If there was some inaccuracy on the address, or you moved several times, it could all be sitting there waiting for you to claim the money," Goering said.

Pat Jones has made finding unclaimed funds into a hobby, finding hundreds of dollars for family and friends. She says it’s well worth the hunt.

Hunt often ends in dead end

So where are the recipients? In most cases, the person is long gone from that address.

We discovered that when we tried to find one woman. House number 2317 was torn down -- and $2,000 in cash was unclaimed by the woman who lived there in the 1980s.

At one vacant house, the person who lived there four owners ago never claimed $3,000.

And in an apartment building, no one had ever heard of a man who was owed $1,800.

So the checks get returned to sender, and most people never check their name.

How to check

Michigan residents click here:

Go to the treasurer website for your state, or check the national site

Or check the books in your local treasurer's office.

One caution: beware postcards or websites offering to do the hunt for you: many will charge as much as half the money you get as “commission.” You can do it yourself for free.

You'd be amazed at who is on the list. We found some of our fellow TV station employees with unclaimed funds, though none are going to retire on it: The average amount was $30.

As always, don't waste your money.