$71 million in unclaimed financial property. The office is now in the midst of its fall outreach campaign and State Treasurer Beth Pearce is encouraging Vermonters to check for their name in the unclaimed property database.
“We are always actively encouraging Vermonters to check for their name, business or non-profit organization in the unclaimed property database,” said Pearce. “In this past year, we received more than $10 million in new unclaimed property. We encourage people to develop the habit of checking at least once a year to see if there’s anything listed for them.”
Unclaimed property advertisements will run throughout November, including a 28-page insert that will be published in all of Vermont’s daily newspapers. The insert lists new unclaimed property claims of $50 or more turned over to the Treasurer’s office within the past year. There are 6,831 entries in the insert, which span the alphabet and includes addresses statewide.
“Last year, we had 13,107 people claim more than $4.7 million in unclaimed property. The average claim amount was $365,” said Pearce.
There are more than 350,000 individual listings in the online unclaimed property database. Vermonters may search by going to MissingMoney.Vermont.gov. Below are the top ten Vermont communities with the largest number of individual listings in the database. Due to ongoing changes in the database due to the processing of claims, the numbers below are rounded to the nearest hundred.
Burlington – 36,000
Rutland – 16,500
Montpelier – 14,200
South Burlington – 12,900
Brattleboro – 11,600
Essex Junction – 11,600
Colchester – 10,400
St. Albans – 9,300
Barre – 9,100
Bennington – 8,700
Unclaimed property includes misplaced savings or investments, forgotten insurance policies, abandoned security deposits, estates and even uncashed tax refunds or paychecks. Financial property becomes “unclaimed” after a business or non-profit entity loses contact with a customer for a period of years. The property is sent to the State Treasurer’s Office to protect the funds and centralize efforts to locate the property owner. There is never a charge to claim funds through the Treasurer’s office.
Vermonters should be cautious of companies that claim they will locate and recover lost property for a fee. Vermont law forbids such businesses, known as asset locators, from charging more than 10 percent of the value of the unclaimed property for their services. The law further requires that asset locators post a bond of at least $10,000 with the Treasurer’s office and send the office a copy of any agreement or contract along with a notarized “notice to claimant” form.
People with questions about Vermont’s unclaimed property program may call (802) 828-2407 or toll-free in Vermont at 1-800-642-3191.