By CRISTIN REECE
Area resident *Barbara Roberts couldn’t quite believe her luck recently when she learned she had unclaimed cash the Texas State Comptroller’s office had been holding onto since her college days.
Roberts said she was recently researching another issue on the Comptroller’s website when she saw a link to the state’s Unclaimed Property List.
“I clicked on it and did the preliminary search, just for fun,” she said. “I never dreamed I’d actually be on it!”
According to the Comptroller’s website, one in four Texans has unclaimed property from forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, security deposits and utility refunds. Roberts said apparently she’d received a refund from some class she’d dropped during college, but for whatever reason, the refund never made its way to her.
“It’s been years since I was at that college,” she said. “But there it was right on the list. It was one of those ‘too good to be true’ moments, but once I researched the claims process and found out it was certainly legitimate, I submitted my claim and, after the process, received my refund.”
Businesses, financial institutions and other entities have a legal obligation, and a time limit of up to five years, to make every effort to get these assets back to their rightful owners. If those people can’t be found by the deadline, state law requires the unclaimed property to be turned over to the Comptroller’s office.
In 2012, the state returned more than $159 million to its owners and the Comptroller’s office has reported it’s currently holding more than $2.6 billion in cash and other valuables.
“Many folks could use some extra cash right now, and we want to give Texans back their property, whether it is personal property or money that could save taxpayer dollars by going back to city and county treasuries,” Comptroller Susan Combs states in a release published on her office’s website.
The average claim paid out to individuals is about $1,000.
“Mine wasn’t that much,” Roberts said, “but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.”
Find out what you may have been missing by searching the state’s unclaimed property database, found at the State Comptroller’s website, www.window.state.tx.us.
You can also request searches via mail, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Unclaimed Property Claims Section, P.O. Box 12046 Austin, TX 78711-2046; fax, 1-888-908-9991 or 512-936-6224 (direct in Austin); and by calling 1-800-654-FIND (3463) or 512-463-3120 (direct in Austin). There is a limit of three name searches when calling by phone.
Be sure to include the name you would like searched; any addresses in the Texas cities in which you have lived; your social security number; your current mailing address for claim purposes; and your contact information.
*Name changed to protect the person’s privacy.