Clark Howard

Are Missing Money Websites Legit?

Once I found two $100 bills lying in a parking lot. It made my week.

But imagine there’s money in your name sitting with a government agency just waiting for you to claim it. That fantasy may be closer to reality than you realize.

More than 30 million people in the United States have unclaimed property that they've lost, forgotten or never knew about. That's roughly 10% of all Americans.

Team Clark has written about how to find and claim missing money in your name. But when it comes to claiming such property, you often need to verify your identity and provide personal information. Is that always safe?

When Is It Safe To Provide Personal Info to Missing Money Websites?

Can I trust all missing money websites with my personal information?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Sean in North Carolina: “I read about finding missing money on your website. My mother-in-law has missing money available on some of the sites you suggested. How do I know this is legitimate and NOT a scam? Mainly because they require sensitive info like her Social Security Number.

“I don’t want to steer her wrong and compromise her identity. Some of these sites are NOT ‘.gov.’ It has me skeptical. Should I be? And how does she protect herself?”

State websites typically should end in .gov, Clark says. Even if you start at a site like MissingMoney.com or Unclaimed.org, you should work your way to a state website or some part of the federal government.

That’s where Clark wants you to submit your information to make a claim.

“These should be clear, transparent government websites of different government agencies,” Clark says. “I want you to file at those. Not through a third party. I want you to file at those sites.

“So then you’re giving the information of the Social Security Number and other key personal information not to any third party but directly to the unclaimed property office of a state or federal agency.”

Final Thoughts

There’s a 10% chance you have missing money in your name. But you need to be careful about submitting your personal information such as your Social Security Number. Clark suggests you limit that to only clear government websites such as those ending in .gov.

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