Get Your Money Back From the State, I Did

The best feeling in the world is when you unearth a pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in ages, only to dig in its pockets and find a wad of cash.

With rubber band stacks of George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns and some loose silver, you feel you’re on Mount Rushmore. To celebrate, you’ll take your newly found cash register to Claim Jumper and make it rain in the salad bar. But after that, it all goes downhill again until your next come up.

Which brings us to the deep pockets of the California State Controller’s Office, who owes millions of dollars to people like you and I.

What happens when your rebate check from Fry’s never gets cashed? What about cancelling your cable service with credits still owed to you? How about your inactive bank account that was automatically closed? It all goes to the State, and all that money is still yours!

As explained on the state controller’s website website, “California’s Unclaimed Property Law requires corporations, businesses, associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies (referred to as “Holders”) to annually report and deliver property to the California State Controller’s Office after there has been no activity on the account or contact with the owner for a period of time specified in the law.”

Translation? You might have some money coming to you from the State. Second Translation: Ching-Ching. Reality? You don’t have to pawn off the Rolex for your next meal.

After learning about this site, I searched for my name and…voilà…had a nice $250.01 check from a previous employer with my name on it! I also checked for my parents, and my father had a $1.34 check from his car insurance company and my mom had a whopping $0.18 cents coming her way from General Electric.

The search page allows you to locate unclaimed property that already has been sent to the State for safekeeping, as well as property that is about to be sent to the State by a business as required by law. You can search under a person’s last name, business, and even property identification number. If your name matches, click on the link and see how much is owed, and tell Montell Jordan to go back to his talk show instead of trying to convince you how an extra $1,000 can come in handy.

So instead of making a trip to Coinstar or accusing your buddy that he still owes you $20 from 1999, do yourself a favor and check out the link. I promise I’ll tax less than 8.75% if you have anything coming your way.