BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –– New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is more than willing to help New Yorkers find money they didn’t even know was theirs — $13 billion in “lost money”.
It is in the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Funds account, and DiNapoli says it is private money, not taxpayer funds, which could come from just about anywhere, such as an old closed bank account, a check that was never cashed, or even an expired gift certificate.
“We are up to about $13 billion worth of unclaimed fund accounts,” said DiNapoli. “Some of those monies go back to the 1940’s, some of it may never be claimed, but we are trying to get the word out there.”
DiNapoli added, the “lost money” doesn’t just belong to individuals, in some cases, the funds could be owned by organizations.
“If you own a business, it could be in your business name–your church, a synagogue,” he said. “It could be in the organizational name or a not-for-profit you are involved in. There are many different categories where you may be attached to one of these unclaimed fund accounts.”
The comptroller also cautions to watch for people known as “finders”, who charge for a service the state offers free.
“Sometimes a business may contact you and say, ‘For a 15% fee I will get money from the Comptroller’s office’. You don’t have to go through anybody, you don’t need a middle person to get this money. There is no fee, there is no charge.”
In just one week after a News 4 report, western New Yorkers claimed a total of $311,836 which was owed to them.
DiNapoli thanked News 4 for the public service.
“Just from the publicity that you helped generate, $311,000 — that is found money — and that is great. We want even more of that money returned.”
The State Comptroller has a webpage to see who is owed money from the Unclaimed Fund account. DiNapoli advises in your search, check different names that you have used, or even misspellings. For more information, you can also call the Office of the State Comptroller, 1-800-221-9311, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.