State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald knows many Iowans are hoping for a white Christmas. Instead of glistening snow, they may end up seeing green, the color of money.
“The best gift you may be able to give is finding someone’s name in the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt,” Fitzgerald said. “By taking the time to search today, as the family gathers over the holidays, you can share gifts of green.”
Returning unclaimed property to the rightful owners and heirs is a year-round effort by Fitzgerald’s office. “Although the spirit of giving is especially high throughout the holiday season, we do not just return property during the frenzied time of the holidays,” Fitzgerald said. “We are returning millions of dollars to Iowans year round.”
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $170 million in unclaimed property to more than 415,000 people since Fitzgerald created it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property’s owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report unclaimed property to the state treasurer’s office. The assets are then held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.
“We receive millions of dollars each year in unclaimed property,” Fitzgerald explained. “Sometimes people move, switch jobs, change banks and just forget about a safe deposit box, bank account or pay check. It is more common than you think.” Visit greatiowatreasurehunt.com to search and see if you have a treasure waiting for you. Also, like the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt on Facebook and follow the program on Twitter @GreatIATreasure to keep up to date on events and the latest listings of names.