One morning in August, I was sorting through my mail when I discovered an envelope from a bank where I do not bank that had first class postage on it. In postal parlance, this indicates that the contents of the letter are Possibly Important.
Inside, I made a discovery that could very well turn out to be quite exciting: I had overpaid a credit card debt, cancelled the account, and Citibank was now owing me money.
The only thing I needed to do was fill out the claim form that was attached, and then I could sit back and wait for my windfall.
They warned me that if they didn’t hear from me soon, they would turn over my assets to the Unclaimed Property Division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, which is the home of lost rebates, insurance company credits, errant paychecks, and dormant credit card overages. If I didn’t hear from them soon, they would do as they threatened.
Those assets that Citibank was supposed to owe me? 60 cents, which is exactly enough to cover the cost of the stamp required to return the claim back.
I rolled my eyes and reread the letter before making the decision to save my stamp and instead make an effort to learn more about the organization that was going to be in charge of receiving my pennies.
And to observe the manner in which they would utilize it.
The division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office responsible for unclaimed property is eager for us to retrieve our misplaced funds.
Despite the fact that it is nearly always cash, they refer to it as property.
According to Meaghan Aguirre, who is the director of the division, “It’s a rebate you filed for and never thought about again.” “A deposit for the utility that you forgot about. Even if it belongs to you, the money is considered to be “found money.”
The payout from the insurance policy is a significant amount of money. It’s chump change that resulted from a mistake at the bank. It’s the long-lost treasure that was stashed away in Grandma June’s old safety deposit box.
As a result of consumer protection legislation, every state is expected to have a mechanism that can collect and distribute property that is owed to its inhabitants. Aguirre’s office compiles a list of lucky winners and publishes it online as well as in 16 of the state’s most widely circulated newspapers. Businesses and banks are the ones who report and transfer abandoned monies.
The graphic was created by Hanscom Park Studio.
The 2022 broadsheet that was sent to doorsteps from Omaha to Scottsbluff in the spring has information about each county in the state. In Douglas County there were ten pages and hundreds of names, but in Arthur County, which has a population of 439, there was just one possible receiver. (If you’re Mr. Cone and you’re reading this, the office of the treasurer has your money.)
In extremely fine type, adjacent to the names of all of those individuals are businesses such as bakeries, jewelry stores, co-ops, hair salons, political campaigns, and volunteer fire departments, as well as companies and charitable organizations.
The Shamrock Livestock Market can be found here. The Nebraska Trucking Association is being represented here. The woman who shares the same name as my sister but is not, alas, my sister.
One candidate for Governor Inc. is Pete Ricketts. There is the Chamber of Commerce for the city of Bellevue.
There’s Susan, my best friend, who is about to get a check for sixty dollars and is going to treat me to a coffee date as a thank you.
The governmental agencies’ version of Santa Claus is known as Unclaimed Property. It doesn’t raise your taxes or inconvenience you to license your car.
Although it’s not the Powerball, your chances of winning are substantially higher with this game.
The numbers work out to one in every five Nebraskans.
Median payout: $95
Aguirre believes that even if you don’t have any unclaimed property yourself, you probably know someone else who does. We’re only the custodians of your money; it belongs to you.
Aguirre is in charge of seven staff in Lincoln and Omaha who are responsible for verifying claims, catching bogus ones, sleuthing out heirs with the use of databases and shoe leather, and communicating the good news through postcards and letters that should not be thrown away.
According to Aguirre, “if you get something from us, it’s authentic,” and he guarantees this.
If they have a Cornhusker resident and a Social Security number her staff can deal with, the office has a success percentage that is significantly higher than Husker Football. This office has a success rate of 75%.
This year, Nebraskans have already been reunited with roughly $13 million thanks to a $5 million investment account that was listed as dormant by T.D. Ameritrade. The account had been classified as dormant by T.D. Ameritrade. (As it turned out, the owner knew he had it, but he hadn’t fiddled with it in years and had moved, thus Potentially Important letters from Ameritrade were left unanswered.)
To make the print version, a payout of fifty dollars is required. The cost of using the division’s internet database, which can be found at nebraskalostcash.gov, begins at $15. The sofa cushion category, which includes items priced at $14.99 or less, is not displayed but is stored in the system until it may be added to a larger sum of cash resulting from a future accounting error or a misplaced inheritance from Great Uncle Al, who loved you the most throughout your life.
After you and your property have been added to the list, you will remain there for all of time. Or until you or one of your heirs ultimately make a claim on what rightfully belongs to you.
At this very second, two hundred million of our money are being held in wait.
Get on it, Nebraska.
The man from Lincoln was due to receive $65,000 soon.
But it didn’t appear to bother him in the least.
He disregarded the treasurer’s office’s correspondence in this matter.
He did not answer any phone calls.
Mary Jones, who specializes in conducting research into unclaimed property, said, “I couldn’t get him to declare it, couldn’t get him to claim it.”
She continued to call for the next 18 months. She noted the event in her planner. The man’s office manager would always say the same thing on Thursdays: that she would pass along the message.
What was it that Jones received in response? Crickets.
As she continued to navigate the Internet, she suddenly became aware of a new development: the guy and his wife were no longer registering their vehicles jointly. The address of the wife’s new home was in Arizona.
“At first, I was like, ‘OK. I have no doubt that he is prepared to get the money at this time.'”
The man who had recently been divorced was. “He ultimately turned in the claim after filling out all of the necessary paperwork.”
Jones is currently working on persuading another hesitant receiver. A man from Omaha who is expecting to get $19,000 in total, in addition to a safety deposit box containing three bars of silver.
“I’ve been working on him for years to get him to come in here. Simply put, he does not place a high value on it.”
According to Jones, these are the extreme cases. The majority of victims, upon discovering that the postcards and letters are not part of a scam, are relieved to learn that they have been reunited with money that they were unaware they had misplaced.
Consider the case of the family that benefited to the tune of $336,000 from their mother’s life insurance policy as well as investments after she passed away. “They were wholly oblivious to the existence of these monies.”
And the grown children who drove their mother’s casket to the funeral home in the back of a pickup truck, but were able to pay off her final expenditures when a claim showing their father’s name appeared on it.
Jones is enthusiastic about her job, which includes elements of being a good fairy, a paper pusher, and a detective.
She claims that the people are the reason. Someone with a brand-new baby or a beat-up car who is overjoyed to learn that they are about to receive some money is an example.
It is the Plattsmouth guy who contacted the previous week to check his claim, which was for the profits of a life insurance policy that he had forgotten about.
He expressed his gratitude to us and stated that the check would arrive on time to cover the cost of his new dentures.
Al Hagemeier had been included on the list for a considerable amount of time. Someone said they saw me there once, but the paperwork seemed to be too hard for me to complete it.
The Garfield County retiree gave it another shot this year after receiving some encouragement from a freelancer working for the Flatwater Free Press. He used his phone to make a call. I responded to a couple of your queries. According to his wife Donita, he found out that his name had been included on the list more than once. The verification process was a breeze.
After Hagemeier has finished signing the necessary documents, he will be given enough money to purchase a new tractor blade. “It looks like he’s extremely pumped up.”
When Marcie Young discovered several years ago that she was included on the list, she was very ecstatic.
The financial adviser at Lincoln stated that it was somewhere around $1,000. “I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
She had completely forgotten that she had ever possessed a credit card that contributed a portion of each transaction to a college savings account. She did, however, not use her unanticipated fortune to pay for her daughter’s education. It turned out that she would not be attending college after all.
In the 1970s, Katherine Endacott found out that the father of a high school classmate had bought a racehorse and put her name on the title. This led to her receiving some unexpected financial windfall. The horse and the father both passed away, and Endacott’s portion of the inheritance eventually made its way from Kentucky to the Unclaimed Property Division in Nebraska.
The woman from Pleasant Dale stated, “I did not get wealthy.” “But it does make for an excellent anecdote to tell at a cocktail party.”
Chris Dinan, who stole $286 from an unclaimed Arby’s paycheck from 2014 and used it to pay for the 2022 party, is one of the attendees. Tina Dykes has a balance owed to her of $342 because of an overpayment for dental work.
Monica Kruger is waiting to get $20.44 from a rebate that was not claimed. Her daughter will soon be $102 richer. She used to work as a lifeguard at the Y, thus her origin is the Y.
In addition, Kruger found that her mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and a pair of pals were all present in the internet database.
“And I told them to check as well,” she continued.
The responsibility of checking has been shared by Julie Cook. Since many years ago, the woman from Lincoln has been combing through the list, looking for her name (never there). She searched for acquaintances, including clients of her cleaning company, relatives, and friends. Strangers.
Back then, a phone book could serve the purpose of both a phone directory and a detective tool.
When I had a few minutes to spare, I gave them a call. I would introduce myself and let them know that it was a pastime. They all exhibited signs of having a nice surprise.”
An older guy was surprised to learn that he was entitled to a settlement from his insurance policy.
He claimed that he would contact you if he ever became wealthy enough to do so.
In 1969, a state legislature established the division, and it has returned a total of $240 million to Nebraska residents since that time. Each year, many millions are transmitted digitally, the majority of which arrive in November, when companies submit their annual reports. After that, money is distributed once again to residents of Nebraska who stake a claim on it, creating a cycle of wealth that never runs out completely.
The majority of whatever is left over in the department’s coffers is transferred into Nebraska’s Permanent School Fund every October. This fund is used to finance the “support and upkeep” of the state’s public schools. Over the course of the last four years, it has contributed an annual average of $12 million.
And then we are back at the beginning of the cycle.
According to what Aguirre has remarked, “We’re always getting in more than we’re transferring out.”
Including my own personal two cents.
What will be?
Director Aguirre told me that I could have everything I wanted if I truly, really wanted it and insisted on getting it.
“If we were to transfer that payment to you, it would cost us more money than it’s worth.”