And, one of those ordinary Americans could very well be you. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, there is about $32.877 billion dollars of unclaimed funds from lost checking accounts, saving accounts, safety deposit accounts, insurance claims and other sources.
So, if you think you may have some unclaimed cash just waiting for you - here are the top 5 tips on how to get it back:
Start your search for the money - for free: There are some free databases out there that can let you search for lost accounts, like MissingMoney.com. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators also maintains a database linking to all the missing money/unclaimed property search engines provided by the different states.
Search under different names: Even though you may not have any missing money, one of your relatives might. A deceased parent, or a deceased relative, may very well have opened an account before they passed that was not included in their will or that nobody knew about.
Search using different titles: If you search for a deceased relatives' name, some accounts still won't come up if they are special accounts. Some have suggested using other nontraditional "titles" in the "last name" box for a search, like entering in "estate of," "payable on death," "trustee," or "executor" into the search field.
Figure out what accounts you do have: Unclaimed money and property results from people simply forgetting about - or not telling anybody about - their assets. Writing down and compiling an organized list of what accounts you have may remind you that you're forgetting something.
Beware of companies advertising to "find" the money for you: Searching for money via state databases is free for everybody. Companies that advertise running the search for you for a fee should be regarded with a grain of salt - after all, you can actually do all the leg work yourself without having to pay.
With so much missing money/unclaimed money out there, it seems wise to at least do a cursory search. Happy hunting, and good luck!