WSFA 12 News Defenders: Unclaimed Property Phone Bank
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The WSFA 12 News Defenders teamed up with the Office of the Treasurer to help get unclaimed property back in the hands of its rightful owner.
Wednesday, WSFA held a phone bank so you can check to see if you have any unclaimed property.
Representatives took calls and the Office of the Treasurer's website was available as well. While there isn't yet an exact amount to give in terms of how much money was made, it was confirmed that hundreds of calls rang in.
"Hundreds of calls have come in and hundreds of claims have been filed. I think it went very well," said Director of the Unclaimed Property Division Chad Wright.
Representatives with the division will be available to took calls and if someone had any unclaimed property, they got information in order to send that person a form to file a claim.
Going into Wednesday, the state of Alabama had a total of $819 million available right now for claim. Individually, the range of how much money a person could possibly have is wide.
"I have seen everything tonight from small amounts $17, $20, $25. Then we have had some all the way up into the thousands. We had one that we will be sending out a claim form that is over $6,000," Wright said.
Unclaimed property consists of abandoned financial assets such as checking and savings accounts, unpaid wages, securities, life insurance payouts, and uncashed checks.
"Anytime anybody has lost money, left money in an account they didn't know they had, or unfortunately it can be something where someone passes away. After a period of time if the company can't get in touch with them, they end up turning that money over to us," said Wright.
Most of what the Unclaimed Property Division deals with is money, but that isn't all. Items left in safe deposit boxes, without activity for a certain period of time, is also handed over to the state and held in a vault as they try to track down the owner.
"We have had gold medals from the 1984 Olympics, a New England Patriots Championship ring that was turned over to us, and recently we had a diamond ring. When we went through and did our inventory process we didn't think much of it. The ring was very big and almost looked like costume jewelry. When we got it to the appraiser they called us and said we got something here. It ultimately ended up being something that sold for $50,000," said Wright.
Due to space and limitations after a period of time the items in the vault are auctioned off.
"That person still gets credited with whatever amount we received from the sale. So it is not like they are completely losing out. They would still be able to file a claim," said Wright.
On an annual basis the state returns anywhere from $25 million to $28 million every year back to owners of unclaimed property. Wright says their ultimate goal is to get the money or items returned.
Even if you don't think you have any property to claim it is always a good idea to check.
"Not only is it possible. I would say it may be likely. I tell people if you will go four or five people deep, family and friends, people you send Christmas cards to, it is likely somebody will have something," said Wright.
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