Get in the Habit of Searching These 10 Places for Surprise Money

pension pension or retirement concept with word on business office folder index.
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There might be hundreds of dollars out there you don’t know you have. But, you have to know where to look to find your unclaimed money. Find out where to check regularly to find surprise money. Hint: It’s not just your jacket pocket.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), 1 in 10 Americans has unclaimed property or money. Name changes, address changes and errors can lead to certain funds never finding their way back to you. This can include old bank accounts, security deposit boxes, stocks, bonds, uncashed checks (including traveler’s checks), security deposits, customer overpayment, insurance benefits and wages.

You can search as much as you want and it’s free. If you went by a different name at one point, or lived in a different state, you’ll want to try those during your search.

This is a similar type of free search to, but you can search multiple states at one time, and you don’t need a “property #” to conduct a search. If there are any states that match your information, will give you information on how to start a claim to retrieve your cash. 


If you didn’t receive a refund from a previous year’s tax return, you can check to track down your payment. If this search doesn’t give you any information, you can contact the IRS directly so it can assist you in getting your refund. Make sure you do this as soon as you can, as you have just three years to retrieve unclaimed tax funds. 

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National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits 

In the midst of tying up loose ends when you leave a job, it’s easy to forget about retrieving retirement account funds. The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits helps you find old plans for free so you can transfer that money over to another account. The benefit is that your balance probably has kept growing since you last adjusted your investments, so you might have even more than you think. 

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 

You might have had a pension plan with a company but then found out the pension plan failed. This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no money in the pension plan for you. To find funds your plan had, you can search for free by using your pension name, PBGC eight-digit case number and the company where you had the pension. 

Life Insurance Policies

Between 25% and 50% of all life insurance plans go unclaimed annually, leaving about $2.4 billion on the table. How does this happen? Maybe you had a life insurance plan with a provider that went from being a private company to a publicly traded company. This is called demutualization. During this process, your life insurance plan might change, but you might be entitled to money from the old structure.

If your life insurance plan’s provider demutualized, you can check You also can check for life insurance money you might be entitled to after the passing of a loved one.  


If you have or had a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage, you might be entitled to a refund. You can check HUD’s website to see whether you’re eligible. You’ll need your name, case number, city and state to conduct the search. 

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U.S. Treasury

This is a good place to check if you think you might have unused savings bonds in your name. The Treasury Department keeps track of bonds that no longer pay interest and have not been used by the bond owner. If you’ve lost your bonds or they have been stolen, you can start a claim with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

Closed Banks or Credit Unions

If your bank or credit union is no longer in business, you’re still eligible for the money that was in your account. For closed banking institutions, check the FDIC for your money. For credit unions that are no longer in business, check the NCUA.

Credit Card Rewards

You might have selected a credit card for its cashback rewards but then never actually check on those rewards. You can log into your credit card account and check out the rewards to see how much you have. You might have more than you thought. 

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