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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

Find and claim missing money for free

By Clark Howard


Unclaimed money from bank accounts, insurance policies, and safe deposit boxes hanging out unloved in your name. I want to tell you how to check and collect it without paying any fees.

The deal is this: When money gets lost in space, it gets held by the state until someone comes looking for it. But with many states under budget pressure, they will sometimes just scarf that cash if it sits unclaimed for too long.

Money magazine reports there is an estimated $60 billion out there in unclaimed money. Florida alone holds more than $1 billion in unclaimed cash, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

I want you to love that lost money that's floating around in every state, and go seize it if it's yours!

It's particularly easy if you have a unique last name. Simply go to MissingMoney.com or Unclaimed.org and punch in your name to do a database search of available unclaimed funds across all states. With one click of your mouse, you can cover the entire spectrum of what's available. Please note that not every single state participates.

I once punched in my siblings' names and found money for one of my brothers. He never told me if he followed up on it or how much was in his name. My executive producer Christa did a search for her family because she has a unique maiden name. She found money for a relative in the amount of $1,200.

So go check it out. Be a hero to a loved one or friend or to yourself. It's free to use.

Finally, if you ever had an FHA home loan, HUD may be sitting on refund money for you. Go to HUD.gov and see if you're in their refund database.