The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt Is Legitimate — Start Searching Today

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Feb. 2 2022, Published 2:27 p.m. ET

Normally, when an advertisement claims that there’s money out there just waiting for you, it’s a scam. If you’re wondering whether the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is legitimate, you can trust that it’s a real property recovery program.

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The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt was emphasized on February 1, 2022, by Iowa state officials. February 1 is Unclaimed Property Day, and it isn't just for residents of Iowa but of all states. Although the name “Great Iowa Treasure Hunt” might sound too good to be true, it’s legitimate and many Iowans might be able to get money by doing a simple online search.

How much does the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt have today>

Currently, Iowa has about $460 million in unclaimed property, according to KCRG—a Cedar Rapids news outlet. Since 1983, the program has returned $310 million to over 585,000 individuals, businesses, and nonprofits.

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Cash piles
Source: Getty

Millions of dollars in unclaimed property are held by states, and U.S. citizens can search to see if any of that property is rightfully theirs.

Unclaimed Property Day is February 1

According to the NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators), about 1 in 10 Americans has unclaimed property. All U.S. states have an unclaimed property program and a means for citizens to search for their own unclaimed assets.

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Some common types of unclaimed property include lost utility deposits, uncashed insurance benefits, abandoned bank accounts, or forgotten safety deposit box contents.

Officially, to qualify as unclaimed property, there must be a period of dormancy for an account at a financial institution. After a period of one or more years with no activity or contact with the account owner, property is deemed “unclaimed” and is turned over to state officials.

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Searching for unclaimed property is free and easy.

It's free to search for unclaimed property in all states. You can search online for your state’s unclaimed property at any time, not just on Feb. 1. Use the interactive map on unclaimed.org to find the correct location. MissingMoney.com is another resource for discovering unclaimed property.

The state’s treasurer or comptroller’s office usually provides data on unclaimed property.

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There are various types of unclaimed property, including:

  • Checking or savings accounts

  • Uncashed dividends or payroll checks

  • Stocks

  • Trust distributions

  • Traveler’s checks

  • Certificates of deposit

  • Customer overpayments

  • Utility security deposits

  • Contents of safe deposit boxes

  • Insurance payments or refunds

  • Annuities

When searching, remember to search the unclaimed property database for all of the states you’ve lived in or conducted business in. You might have forgotten to forward your new address to all businesses before a move, in which case you might be missing out on unclaimed property.

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If you find unclaimed property, you will need to file a claim to have the money or assets returned. NAUPA explains that you’ll need to provide proof of ownership of the account to file a successful claim.

Documentation to validate the claim process will likely include proof of identification and something that demonstrates your ownership of the property, like a utility bill with your name and other identifying details.

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Beware of unclaimed property scams.

Although the unclaimed property itself is legit, there are potential scams. Most government agencies are prohibited from contacting owners of unclaimed assets by phone. So, if someone contacts you claiming that they're holding your funds, you should be suspicious.

Do your own research of unclaimed property and don’t give out your Social Security number, banking information, or any money to such callers.

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