COLUMBUS, Ohio — First of all, it’s not a scam. The state has billions of dollars just sitting there, waiting to be claimed.
The figure is $3,657,324,918, to be exact. It’s sitting in the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Unclaimed Funds, in the form of lost or forgotten money from inactive checking or savings accounts, refunds or credit balances, uncashed cashier’s checks, stocks and bonds, forgotten utility deposits or last paychecks.
Assets also can come from inactive safe deposit boxes, often containing coins, cash, stock certificates, life insurance policies, and more.
“It’s your money, come and claim it,” said Susie Wagner, outreach coordinator for the Division of Unclaimed Funds.
Her goal is to spread the word that this money is available and ready to be claimed. Many people may not realize they are owed money. And she admits that many people feel this somehow must be a scam.
But the division has been around since 1968. Just last year, the state returned $134 million to people who had filed claims, with the average return being around $4,000.
“I would really love for people, if they have questions, just call us,” Wagner said. “They can call or email us. I want them to get their money. We don’t want to keep it for them.”
The process is fairly simple and is made up of three steps – file the claim, gather supporting documents, mail or upload the information. Just go online to unclaimedfunds.ohio.gov. From there, click on “find your funds” to be directed to missingmoney.com. Enter a name and follow the process from there.
The turnaround time is typically 120 days. And it should be noted that an executor of an estate or an heir can initiate a claim for a deceased relative. And the online search can be done for several states.