Utahns owed millions in unclaimed property, lawmakers consider bill to return money automatically

Feb 10, 2023, 12:06 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2023, 2:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Our morning show goofball reporter, Casey Scott has his own way of busting inflation — every Wednesday on KSL Today, he ambushes unsuspecting motorists with free gas cards. But this week, I ambushed Casey, with a check for more than $300.

Well, it was a big novelty check borrowed from the Utah Unclaimed Property Division, but the money is real.

The division is where money and property get sent whenever, for whatever reason, a business cannot get them to its rightful owner. On this day, it was holding over $300 for Scott, but it could be holding your money, too, State Treasure Marlo Oaks said.

“It’s our job to reunite it with its rightful owner,” he said.

The money comes from sources like dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks or unpaid insurance benefits. There is no shortage of money or people to whom it belongs — in fact about one in four Utahns have money being held by the Unclaimed Property Division.

As for Casey, or anyone else who searches their name and finds they have money in the system, in most cases it is as easy as verifying your identity and the check will be in the mail. But it could be easier.

Lawmakers are proposing HB360 that the state treasurer works with the Utah State Tax Commission to proactively match up folks with their missing money and  start sending out checks, automatically.

Oaks said he loves the idea. He said one of his office’s main objectives is to stimulate the economy, which is most easily done by getting money into the hands of Utahns. Plus, it can make a huge difference for families struggling day-to-day with inflation.

“This bill will really help,” Oaks said. “And really get them (checks) out to people who could really use the money.”

State officials are concerned people will disregard unexpected checks they receive in the mail, assuming it is a scam.

“So, we’re going to need to educate people,” Oaks said. Should the bill become law and checks are sent out, know this: the state will never ask for you to pay a fee to receive your unclaimed property.

“This is a one-way check. This is your money; we want to reunite it with you.”

But what about the money being sent to the wrong person, is that a concern? The bill would cap the limit of automatic checks at less than $2,000. The larger  amounts would still require someone to make a claim.

You don’t have to wait for this bill to become law. You can search right now and see if you or people you know have money waiting to be claimed. You can visit the Unclaimed Property Division’s website MyCash.Utah.gov.

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Utahns owed millions in unclaimed property, lawmakers consider bill to return money automatically