[starbox] [social4i size=”small”]
We’re going off-road and off-topic today because…
I just found $403.47 just lying around under my name. No joke. Here’s the picture proof:
Thanks Tennessee Department of Treasury.
My check just came in the mail on Wednesday!
Pretty cool, right?
Apparently, each state in the United States has an “Unclaimed Property Division” (UPD) where you may actually have money just sitting there in your name waiting for you. It did for me. $403 dollars worth.
Where does this money come from? According to the Tennessee Department of Treasury, “Millions of dollars are turned over annually to the State of Tennessee by businesses and organizations who cannot locate the owners. This includes intangible assets such as bank accounts, stock certificates, checks, unclaimed wages, refunds, and gift certificates.” And apparently this doesn’t just apply to Tennessee like we said (see more on this below). So, after I found out about this, I went to look for myself.
Tennessee’s UPD actually has an electronic database where you can search by name. So, I went ahead and put my full name in, “Josh Mackens”. Nothing. I then went on to put in my family’s names, friends, clients, etc. Nothing turned up for the 10+ people I searched. While it was kind of disappointing, I decided to poke around and see what other people had coming to them in Tennessee as you can search for anyone since it’s a public database. I searched “Smith” considering it’s a pretty common last name and here’s what I found:Obviously, I found a whole list of people. Here are just a few of the amounts these people had coming to them (if it’s more than $250 it won’t disclose the full amount, it will just say “over $250):
And the craziest part is these people have no idea that this money is just waiting on them. In some cases it’s not a lot but money is money, right? But in some cases, it is a lot of money.
After I checked out all these people I thought it was strange that out of the 10+ people I typed in, no one showed up. Yet when I typed in “Smith” thousands of entries were returned.
Then I got the bright idea to just search for my last name.
I typed in just “Mackens” and sure enough:
As you can imagine I was totally surprised and very, very excited.
I clicked on it and here is what it said for me:
You can imagine the shock I was in when I saw this. I wasn’t expecting anything. After all, the database at first didn’t return anything for me. So, I wasn’t expecting a dime, much less over $250 that was supposedly mine.
The cool thing is that you don’t have to wait to find out how much is coming to you, right below your Unclaimed Property Details you can choose to claim this as a person or as a business. Yes, there are thousands of businesses in the database that are in the same situation as individuals. They have money waiting on them. In fact, this may be where the most money is to be claimed, considering the amounts to collect could be massive.
Anyways, you can claim your money right there on the page:
Once you go through the claims process, you will quickly see how much you have coming to you if you have over $250. Obviously if you’re under $250 you know exactly how much is coming to you from the outset.
To claim you will have to have your social security number and I believe your date of birth, that way not just anyone can claim your money.
Once you fill everything out, the state treasury will send you a check to your address (supposedly, haven’t gotten mine yet). I’ve heard a rumor that it can take up to 3 weeks.
Then you can laugh all the way to the bank.
But That’s Not The Best Part – Treasure Hunt
While finding money for yourself is cool, I have found it is way more exciting to find your friends and family money. It’s like an online treasure hunt.
I set out to find some of my families and friends money and here’s what I found:
And I also found over $600 for a friend’s grandfather, who is deceased. He had four separate claims and two of them were for over $250 and they were securities. So they very well could have been thousands of dollars. His grandmother claimed them before I could write this post so I wasn’t able to show you proof but he told me he would let me know how much it was. I’ll update this post when I find out exactly how much that meant.
All together I found over $2,000 for my friends and family.
Then, I started looking for my clients who are local businesses across the United States. We do internet marketing and SEO for them through Tutelary Marketing but that’s beyond the point. We have a business relationship but I wanted to check for them too. Just in case.
Again, guess what I found:
$550+ for my clients (and I’m still looking). The best part by far is that the last one for “over $250” is for a chiropractor and is labeled as “Insurance Benefits/Pro”. That could be thousands of dollars right there. Hopefully he’ll be willing to tell me how much it was once he claims it.
I heard a rumor, again a rumor, that someone claimed over $40k for their business. They had sold their pharmacy and were still getting kickbacks from drug companies and had no idea. It built up quite a bit over the years. Again, just a rumor but still, it’s exciting right?!
Not Just Tennessee
Now while this post is about the Tennessee State Treasury, I actually did a little research on other states.
Each state I looked up had a very similar electronic database similar to Tennessee’s. Granted, I only looked up 3 states total but I feel like an electronic, internet database is something each state can do and has done for unclaimed property.
Just do a Google search for “Texas unclaimed property database” and make sure you insert your state instead of Texas of course, and you’ll find out whether they do or not. In fact, I’ll keep a running list of states right here:
- Texas: Yes
- Delaware: Yes
- Californian: Yes
Help us keep this list going. Please submit comments below and let us know which state you checked and verify for us it has an electronic database and we’ll update it here with your name as a contributor.
Becoming A Pirate
While this is a really cool, feel good story, I’m not going to stop there.
I’m actually going to equip you with the tools to find your families, friends, colleagues, etc. some of this online buried treasure. We can get them at least a night out on the town if not hundreds of dollars, and maybe even thousands (fingers crossed)!
I actually want to calculate how much money this post helps people claim but we’ll talk more about that later on in the post.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to uncover these hidden treasure chests.
While searching a database may seem really straight forward (just type in your name and done), it’s not. If you remember in the beginning of the post I told you I looked for my own name and completely missed it. Had I stopped, I would have left $403 on the table. Another part of the story I didn’t tell you was I went back and looked for those 10+ people I searched for first. Knowing now how to work the system I was able to find 2-3 of them some money that I had missed the first time. It’s all about understanding the best approach and working it.
And luckily for you guys, I made a video about it!
While there is no doubt that finding money for yourself is awesome, I think we can all agree that finding money for others is a blast! I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had finding money for people who weren’t suspecting anything. It’s a great feeling and it’s a lot of fun to look. You never know what’s around the corner.
So, because of this, we’re going to be having a few contests.
We have three categories:
- Largest amount of people an individual found claims for
- Largest lump sum found for one individual (can be you or another)
- Most cases of $250+ claims
So, for instance, I’m currently leading in all categories in this contest of one (for now):
We’ve had some lead changes!
- 8 people
- $9,000 – Lisa Sallee in Franklin, TN – Found $9,000 for a coworker in their Grandmother’s inheritance which he will receive a piece of!
- 2 claims
This is 100% on the honor system. Please be truthful as this is just for fun and to bless people we know.
Please post your amounts for the contest and share you story in the comments below. Make sure to provide your real name if you don’t mind! If you have photographic evidence, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll put the best stories and pictures on the blog post so everyone can enjoy and get pumped up together!
If you’ve read this you have a responsibility to share this around. People you know could just have money lying around out there and you don’t know how it could help them.
Share this on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Email, phone call, everything. Get the word out, help your friends/family and let’s have a blast digging up that buried treasure!
For social media, use the hashtag #reFUNd.
Go out there, find some money for some people and bless them today![social4i size=”small”]