No Scam: You Can Find Free Money Online. Here’s How I Got $368'


How happy are you when you find a five dollar bill lying in the gutter?  How would you feel if you found $368?  Well, that’s what happened to me recently.

No, I didn’t exactly find it on the sidewalk but it was almost as easy. This MarketWatch article caught my attention about unclaimed property and missing money. I had read a similar article several years ago and checked, but had no results.  This time was different.

You see, each state in the country is required to collect missing property on behalf of property owners that cannot be located. Every state has a free website that you can easily search and see if there is found money waiting for you.

In my case, I went to the California State site, put in a few pieces of identifying information and there it was in all its glory.  My missing money was a combination of a pension from a job I held 15 years ago and some money a friend sent to me that I could never get PayPal to correctly credit my account. I had a total $368 coming to me.  It was a sweet day, indeed.

So, I filled out the required paperwork, provided a couple of pieces of identification and sent my letter off to the state.  About four weeks later, voila, my check arrived in the mail.

At that point I thought to myself that I’m probably not the only one out there that forgets about money they have coming to them. So I did a little experiment by searching in the names of several Facebook friends thinking I’d make a post if anything turned up. Well, of the first ten that I checked, nine had something coming to them.  Two had less than $20 but the other seven had anywhere from $150 to $3000.

So I wrote up a really catchy post entitled “Your Free Money Is Waiting” and posted it to Facebook.  Who wouldn’t pay attention to that, right? I really thought post was going to go viral and I was going to be a Facebook hero.

Well, all but one of my Facebook friends dismissed the post entirely. I followed up with an email to a few friends that had big money coming to them. No response.  I have to imagine they thought that was spam and were probably laughing about how I had caught a Facebook virus of some sort.  I guess you can’t give away free money over the Internet these days.

The only friend that read the post found five shares of Disney stock that he’d long ago forgotten.  Not bad, worth about $200.  He was so excited he searched the names of his relatives and found an uncle with over $20,000 due him from insurance proceeds for a corporation that he used to own.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Anyway, the moral of the story is that there is money everywhere out there. Make sure that you find what you have coming to you.  While you’re at it, check your relatives and close friends — but chances are the Facebook friends because they’ll never believe you.

And if you do find money please comment on this article with how much you found.  Let’s see if we can beat $20,000. Cheers!

For more about finding missing money and links to your state’s unclaimed property site, here’s the website for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrator (NAUPA).


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Published June 22, 2011 Updated: July 30, 2013
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Nicole•  June 22, 2011
I went to my states web site but I dont know where to go to find the missing money...
Aleksandra Todorova•  June 22, 2011
Nicole, the link at the bottom of this article should show you a map of the US, from then: click on your state to get to your state's Unclaimed Property Site. Then look for a "search" button or form. The sites are different for each state, but generally there should be directions there about what you should do.
Laiane•  June 25, 2011
I did indeed find my name on a search on Michigan's Department of Treasury site! I was surprised. They don't state the amount, and I need to send in an inquiry to the state (with identification and a notarized statement). It appears to be from a doctor/hospital I went to prior to my divorce in 2000! Just a pointer -- When searching, try different variations on your name: Jane A. Doe, Jane Doe, Jane A. [maiden name], Jane [maiden name], etc. Mine appeared when I searched for my name without the middle initial.
Dustin•  August 11, 2011
Hey, none for me, but I found a total of $90 for 2 of my uncles!