CONSUMER

Bill aims to unite Utahns with billions in unclaimed property

Mar 3, 2023, 9:48 AM | Updated: 11:46 am

SALT LAKE CITY — There is a lot of money that rightfully belongs in the hands of Utah consumers that never makes it there.

That’s about to change.

Matt Gephardt reports that it is billions of dollars in unclaimed property. When a company owes consumers money, and for whatever reason it doesn’t make it to the right person, it goes to the state’s unclaimed property division. Then it sits there waiting to be claimed.

Just about everybody agrees, there’s a better way.

Lawmakers voted that the Unclaimed Property Division will get access to state tax records, specially a person’s name, address, phone number county and social security number. Using that information, they’ll be able to automatically pair people with their missing money.

The bill sailed through the Legislature and is heading to Gov. Spencer Cox for his signature. When signed check will begin showing up in mailboxes — maybe yours, maybe Casey Scott’s.

KSL TV’s 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 $300-plus check. Well, it was a big novelty check borrowed from the Utah Unclaimed Property Division, but the money is real.

The division property to its rightful owner. It was holding over $300 for Casey .

“It’s our job to reunite it with its rightful owner,” State Treasurer Marlo Oaks said. “It’s going to help tremendously.”

Criminals tend to pounce anytime there is a new government program. Oaks said to beware of anyone who says you have to pay taxes or a fee to get your money back.

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

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

Treasurer 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.

He said the state will never send a check and ask somebody to send you money back. There is also a concern, as happened during the pandemic, that when people get a check they aren’t expecting, many assume it’s a scam and trash it.

“We’re going to need to educate people,” Oaks said.

You can visit the Unclaimed Property Division’s website.

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Bill aims to unite Utahns with billions in unclaimed property