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Unclaimed Funds are assets that have existed in accounts or deposits that were inactive for a long period, usually five or more years. After this dormant period, holders of these accounts are required by Ohio law to turn them over to the Ohio Department of Commerce if the holder is unable to locate the owner of the funds.
These funds are held by the state until claimed by the rightful owner. The Ohio Unclaimed Funds list is easily searchable on line. Periodically, the state publishes this list in the major newspaper of each county. Additionally, Ohio’s County Treasurers are asked to make the list available to the public.
The Cuyahoga County Treasurer makes the list available at the County Administration Building and by phone.
Unclaimed fund accounts come from a variety of sources, such as:
- Uncashed checks
- Inactive checking and savings accounts
- Forgotten rent or utility deposits
- Insurance benefits
- Stock shares and dividend checks
- Safe Deposit Box contents
The State of Ohio has more than 2.25 million separate Unclaimed Funds accounts worth a total of $200 million. The State of Ohio adds nearly 100,000 names to the list each year.
Use caution if you are contacted by a “finder”. While there are services that will actually locate and recover assets for you, they charge a fee to recover them. The government agencies that hold these funds make the lists available free of charge.
There are scam artists who use unclaimed funds as a “hook “ to defraud people. These scams are usually of two varieties. One asks for an up-front fee to pay for the cost of recovering the funds. Never pay an up-front fee. The other common variety of fraud asks you to supply information to “help” locate your funds such as your social security number, bank account or credit card information. This information is then used for identity theft. Never provide personal information to parties who contact you without being certain with whom you are dealing.
The Cuyahoga County Treasurer’s Office has assisted residents with over 117,000 claims totaling more than $26 million since January 1998. Call 216-443-7466 for assistance.
To search Ohio’s Unclaimed Funds list, click on the following link: http://www.unclaimedfundstreasurehunt.ohio.gov/qry1.asp.
Other states’ and federal lists can be accessed through the National Unclaimed Property Network at: http://www.nupn.com.