KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Utah Changes Outreach To Reunite Utahns With Lost Money, Property

May 13, 2021, 6:21 PM | Updated: 11:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah created a new tool to get money into the hands of people who, perhaps, need it the most. This money is not a handout  it already belongs to those people.

The Utah treasurer’s office has guarded hundreds of millions of dollars that rightfully belong to someone else. It is called unclaimed property. When a company owes you money and for whatever reason, they cannot get it back to you, it goes to the state which then holds it until the rightful owner claims it.

It may be a refund or a lost rebate check that you never cashed because it got lost in the mail and you never claimed it. The money could come from an old bank account or even insurance.

Claiming it is generally easy by logging onto the state’s website, but alas, claiming lost property is something a lot of folks do not think to do.

The state has people who try and track down the rightful owner. It is a labor-intensive job. The Unclaimed Property Division told the KSL Investigators they focused on finding Utahns who are owed the biggest amounts, tens-of-thousands of dollars. But is that the best way to do it?

The division’s director, Dennis Johnston, said they have created a map-based program that for the first time allows them to see just how much money was owed to folks in various neighborhoods.

They discovered that some of the largest combined amounts are owed to people in Utah’s lower-income communities. We’re talking small chunks – $100 here, $200 there, owed to hundreds of individuals in communities where a little extra cash can go a long way.

Johnston said his division is changing its approach to focusing its outreach where smaller amounts of reunited money will have the most impact.

The state's unclaimed property website. (KSL TV) The Unclaimed Property Division turned to a zip code-based approach where smaller amounts of returned money will have the biggest impact. (KSL TV)

“When I look at this number here and I see this is a lower-income area and there’s this much money to be claimed in that region, it’s a no brainer for me to focus on that area,” said Johnston.

The Unclaimed Property Division planned to put up billboards in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. They will also mail postcards to the homes and businesses in those neighborhoods. The division has even considered targeted ads via social media in its revamped outreach.

You do not have to wait for the outreach to start. You can check to see if you have unclaimed property that’s being held by the state of Utah here. 

If you moved into Utah from another state, it is possible that state is holding onto a property that belongs to you. You can check for that on the website for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. 

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Gephardt: Utah Changes Outreach To Reunite Utahns With Lost Money, Property