WV Press Release Sharing
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer Riley Moore has announced his Office’s Unclaimed Property Division returned a new record-high $26.8 million worth of unclaimed property to individuals, businesses and organizations during the last fiscal year – over $8 million more than the previous record set during the prior year.
“We’re proud to be returning money back to our citizens at the fastest pace in state history,” Treasurer Moore said. “We were already proud of setting a record of $18 million last year, and we completely shattered that this year. This is the first time we’ve ever returned more than $20 million in a year, and we surpassed that by a huge margin.”
During the Fiscal Year 2023 period that ended June 30, the Office returned $26.8 million worth of money to its rightful owners. That far exceeded the record $18.6 million returned by the Office during the last fiscal year.
“Our Unclaimed Property Division has worked incredibly hard over the past year to find new ways to raise awareness of the program and reconnect people with their lost funds,” Treasurer Moore said. “They’ve launched new programs, increased digital marketing efforts and worked with our regional Treasury staff to educate people in our communities across the state about unclaimed property.”
Last year, the Office launched the “West Virginia Cash Now” program, which automatically sends unclaimed property checks to verifiable residents without the need to go through the claims paperwork process. More than $4 million worth of checks were sent out during the first year of that program, with another $4 million set to be issued later this fall.
The Office has ramped up its digital marketing efforts over the past year to help raise awareness of the program with various online and mobile audiences. The mobile version of that website was also updated with a new SMS text feature that allows users to forward unclaimed property listings to family and friends if they see their names listed.
Also, last month, to help assure citizens that this program is legitimate and not a scam, the Office transitioned its website to a .gov web domain, www.WVUnclaimedProperty.gov.
“One of the biggest challenges we face when our people tell residents we want to give them money is that people believe this is too good to be true,” Treasurer Moore said. “We hope the .gov website will reassure them this is a legitimate government program and give them the trust they need to file a claim. After all, this is your money – we want to give it back to you.”
In addition to the launch of the West Virginia Cash Now Program, the Office over the past year has implemented many other provisions of House Bill 4511, an unclaimed property modernization bill proposed to lawmakers during the 2022 regular session.
That bill made several changes that modernize and streamline not only the process of claiming funds, but also how funds and properties are turned over to the Office.
As a result of this bill, as well as increased efforts by staff to educate and work with businesses and property holders across the state, unclaimed property holders are also turning over funds to the Office at a record pace. The Office recorded $74.5 million worth of holder remittances during Fiscal Year 2023, up from $43.2 million during the previous fiscal year.
“This is great because the faster holders turn unclaimed property over to our Office, the faster our staff can get to work returning it to its rightful owners,” Treasurer Moore said.
The State Treasurer’s Office now has more than $400 million in unclaimed property listings for individuals, businesses and other organizations in its database.
Treasurer Moore encouraged everyone to visit www.WVUnclaimedProperty.gov today to see if we’re holding any money in your name.
What is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed property can include financial accounts or items of value in which the owner has not initiated any activity for one year or longer. Common examples include unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards. (While the title includes the word “property,” it does not however include real estate.)
West Virginia’s unclaimed property laws protect the public by ensuring money and property owed to them is returned to them, rather than remaining permanently with financial institutions, business associations, governments and other entities. The Treasurer seeks to reunite the unclaimed property, including uncashed paychecks, stocks, or safe deposit box contents, with its owner.
Nationwide, nearly 33 million people in the United States – one in every 10 – are estimated to have unclaimed property available for them to claim.
How Can I Find Unclaimed Property in My Name?
West Virginians searching for lost financial assets can go to www.WVUnclaimedProperty.gov. In addition to finding property, the website will also help you track a claim.
A demonstration of how to use the Unclaimed Property search site is available on the Treasury’s YouTube page, at: https://youtu.be/K09yQ7YNKlE.
To search for lost financial assets outside West Virginia, visit www.MissingMoney.com.