Let Joe Know: Federal agencies holding unclaimed cash, property? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Let Joe Know: Federal agencies holding unclaimed cash, property?

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Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:16 am, Sat Apr 26, 2014.

Normally when I tell you about "free" money, it involves some kind of scam.

Of course, you don't get money for free, right?

Well, this time, maybe.

For once, I'm not talking about a scam here. I'm talking about money you may not know you had, that somehow, got left behind.

It could be money left in an old forgotten bank account or a safe deposit box. Maybe it's an insurance payout, some old stock, or something left to you. That could include jewelry or other belongings.

Anyway, if an account goes unused for several years, the money has to go somewhere. If you can't be located, in this state it's turned over the Arizona Department of Revenue for safe keeping.

That department makes it very easy to see if you may have something waiting for you.

You can file a claim right on their website, www.azunclaimed.gov.

It will ask you for proof of who you are and where you live. It also asks for your Social Security number. It's optional, but the site says without it, there could be "insufficient information available to determine whether you are the owner of the unclaimed property."

You can also claim property for deceased relatives.

If you lived out of state, you can go to www.missingmoney.com. This site has information for all 50 states. You can also call them at (602) 364-0380 or (877) 492 -9957.

Finally, there's a federal website, www.usa.gov.

It has several places where you can search for tax refunds or pension payouts that you may have forgotten about.

Now, beware of unclaimed property scams going on. The scams usually involve some up front fee. But, with the three sites I mentioned, there is no fee.

And it is worth your time.

When I was reporting in another state, I visited the vaults where many of the unclaimed belongings were being stored. I was amazed at the hundreds of expensive necklaces, coins and important documents I saw just waiting for owners.

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