Money Tip: Regularly Check ‘Missing Money’ Web Sites

Are you a debtor, struggling to pay bills and possibly facing New York bankruptcy? What if I were to tell you, you might be a creditor and don’t know it? It turns out that government entities track when they owe people money, and sometimes private enterprises scrupulously do so as well—like when Fortune reported that Comcast owed Barack Obama more than $300. There is no central database that tracks who might owe you money, but there are some resources that can help. It’s especially important because often consumers move suddenly without notifying public or private organizations that may owe them.

The U.S. government maintains a Web site that offers some suggestions for where to begin. One, start with a state-level search. In New York, that’s the Office of the New York Comptroller. According to its site, New Yorkers (and former New Yorkers) were owed $15 billion in 2017 but returned nearly $450 million in lost funds to consumers. The kinds of funds turned up by searches on the site vary quite a bit. Often the creditors and the amounts are unspecified, but utility companies, life insurers, and hospitals are frequent hits.

Next are federal government Web sites, like the Labor Department’s Wage and Hours Division, which helps people search for employers that may owe them money. If you did not collect your last paycheck from a crummy job, then maybe the employer responsibly held on to your paycheck. It’s not worth it to leave that money on the table. The U.S. government’s Web site also offers options for finding life insurance funds for Veterans Affairs policies, unclaimed pension benefits, and of course, tax refunds from the IRS.

Third, another common way for people to become unknowing creditors is when their money is deposited or invested in a bank or credit union that has failed. The FDIC, which takes troubled banks into receivership, allows former customers to try to reclaim their funds. There are also resources for depositors at failed credit unions and investors in companies subject to SEC enforcement proceedings. Eligible consumers can claim refunds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for FHA-insured mortgages.

Finally, there’s help from the Treasury Department for people with old, lost, or damaged bonds, and consumers with seriously damaged currency (like $20 banknotes that have been torn in half) can redeem it for clean notes. There’s even a link for U.S. nationals who believe they are owed money by foreign governments.

The U.S. government’s Web site is here (with links to the above-mentioned resources); the Office of the New York Comptroller’s is here. The Fortune article is here.

There all kinds of ways debtors might be owed money and not know it, and searching for missing money, particularly in New York, is easy, free, and better than letting someone else have that money. Finding missing money might not be enough to prevent a bankruptcy filing, but it might perhaps help pay for the filing fees, so if you are experiencing serious financial hardship, than consulting with an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer can help you assess your options.

For answers to more questions about bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy please feel free to contact experienced Brooklyn bankruptcy attorney Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.

Rosenberg, Musso & Weiner, L.L.P
26 Court St # 2211
Brooklyn, NY 11242, USA

Recent Posts

So a Private Debt Collector Contacts You About a Tax Debt…

By the time debt collectors start contacting them, debtors should consider discussing their situations with an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer. This counts doubly for when the debt collector is trying to recover a tax debt. Wait, what’s that again? A debt collector pursuing a public debt rather than a private one? Yes, it’s true.

Read More »

Bankruptcy Filings Were Down in 2017, But Not in New York

Last year I asked how many debtors file New York bankruptcy cases each year. The post provided context to a series I ran on the data from the 2016 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) Report. The 2017 BAPCPA report came out recently, but rather than repeat the question, I want to just

Read More »

Bankruptcy and Balancing Your Budget

Unfortunately, most New York bankruptcy debtors see bankruptcy as a last resort after they’ve tried other options, like debt settlement. Perhaps they believe that bankruptcy is a sign of failure, even though the alternatives are usually worse. Instead of seeing bankruptcy as throwing in the towel against one’s debts, it can help to look at

Read More »

What Is a ‘Hard Pull’ or ‘Soft Pull’ of a Credit Report?

The terms “hard pull” or “soft pull” sound like sports jargon, but they do relate to personal credit. Specifically, they distinguish between two types of inquiries into one’s credit report, so they’re called “hard inquiries” and “soft inquiries” as well. What is this difference and when does it matter to New York bankruptcy debtors? The

Read More »

How to Prevent Volatile Prices From Interfering with Your Chapter 13 Plan

Successfully completing a chapter 13 New York bankruptcy repayment plan requires careful planning and budgeting. All debtors filing in that chapter will undoubtedly have some fixed costs, usually auto-loan payments or a residential mortgage, that will go into the plan. Then debtors will have to account for not-so-fixed costs. These would be daily necessities, such

Read More »

Did Your Credit Score Improve Last Year? Here’s Why

It’s not often that good news comes from credit-reporting agencies changing their behavior, but it appears that many consumers’ credit scores have risen in the last few years, hopefully reducing the number of New York bankruptcy cases. The National Consumer Assistance Plan is the name for a joint program by the agencies to change their

Read More »