The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

A New Year, Another Great Start for Unclaimed Property

Since our original website went up giving you the ability to search for unclaimed property in 2003, we’ve seen the amounts of people claiming and the amounts of money we give back steadily climbing every year. And we don’t expect that to change in 2011. In fact, we already turned in a stellar month of returning money back to Wisconsinites…the 4th largest return of cash in office history: $3,432,557!

Let’s put this in perspective – our largest month of returns in OST history was $5,185,680 in November 2010. Last year, we broke all records and gave back the most ever: $32,836,258 on 33,167 claims. On average, our office is returning more than $2.5 million a month while working on 1,500 to 3,000 claims. That’s a lot of hard work from a very small but very dedicated staff.

Despite those numbers, there are sill plenty of people out there who don’t understand what unclaimed property actually is and what we do with it.

The Unclaimed Property Unit is in charge of more than $350 MILLION in unclaimed funds. This is money that people who live or have lived in Wisconsin have forgotten or lost or didn’t even know they had. By federal law, “holders” of this money (employers, insurance companies, utilities, banks, etc.) have to turn that money over to OST and Claims Specialists here try to help get that money to its rightful owners. Let’s say you worked in Wisconsin and moved and forgot a paycheck. We are holding it. Let’s say your parents got you an insurance policy when you were a child but forgot to give it to you…those funds have demutualized and were supposed to go to you. We are holding it. Let’s say you bought a new cell phone and got a rebate but never cashed the check. We are holding it. We also hold the contents of Safe Deposit boxes. Banks turn them over to us after 5 years of non-payment of rent. We hold onto the box for 3 more years then sell any of the contents that have commercial value on EBay. We hold an auction every month. The money earned goes right back to the state in the name of that property owner…waiting to be claimed. Make sure you visit our website and search for your name!


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