Record year for unclaimed property returned to Virginians
The Virginia Department of the Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Program had another record-breaking year for unclaimed assets returned to Virginians.
In fiscal year 2019, $87.1 million was paid out, representing over 129,900 asset accounts. This dollar amount returned is a 9.5 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. The previous record, set in fiscal year 2018, was $79 million. Any citizen who has had a Virginia address is encouraged to check the free search site for unclaimed property in their name.
“Every year, millions of dollars in assets are turned over to the Treasury Department as unclaimed property and this free service is designed to return money that is owed to Virginians,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “I encourage any individual who has lived or worked in our Commonwealth to go online and check whether there are any lost or abandoned items in their name.”
Over $847 million has been paid out to Virginians since this program started in 1961. Unclaimed property is “abandoned assets of accounts” which are considered dormant due to inactivity. Unclaimed property can include utility deposits, customer refunds, unpaid wages, money from insurance policies, securities and investments, bank accounts, and tangible property.
Virginia’s Consumer Protection Law requires businesses to turn unclaimed property over to the state relieving the business of the financial liability. Virginia holds the property as the custodian until the rightful owner, or heir, files a claim.
“Our mission is to protect the property interests of citizens and return these assets to the rightful owner,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “Our program is a central ‘lost and found’ and every citizen should check our free search site at least once a year.”
Virginians can visit the free site www.vaMoneySearch.org to search the Commonwealth’s unclaimed property database and download a claim form. It is important for consumers to be aware of fee-based unauthorized or unsolicited offers and make sure you are working with an authorized state representative.
“Reuniting owners with their unclaimed property is something we take very seriously,” said Virginia Treasurer Manju Ganeriwala. “We proactively attempt to locate owners through newspaper advertising, a free online search, and targeted outreach efforts. There is no deadline and no fees will be charged to claim your property.”
The Office of the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Program is a consumer protection initiative to benefit all citizens. No commissions or fees are charged through this free service.