RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that the Department of the Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Program returned over $67.8 million in unclaimed property to Virginians — an now it’s even easier to claim assets, virtually.
“As we continue dealing with the economic impacts of this pandemic, we are getting Virginians the money that is owed to them as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Northam. “The millions of dollars returned this year is a testament to the hardworking Treasury staff who are finding new ways to reunite people with their unclaimed assets despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.”
So, what is “unclaimed property”?
State officials say that unclaimed property consists of “abandoned assets or accounts” which are considered dormant due to a period of inactivity. Cash, stocks, bonds, utility deposits, customer refunds, unpaid wages, money from insurance policies, securities and investments, bank accounts, and tangible property are all examples of unclaimed property.
Virginia’s consumer protection law requires businesses to turn unclaimed property over to the state, relieving the business of financial liability. Virginia holds the property as the custodian until the rightful owner, or heir, files a claim.
How can you file a claim?
Each year, the Department of the Treasury works to inform Virginians about the Unclaimed Property Program and assist in returning unclaimed assets. This year, a new virtual outreach has been implemented to help people file their claims.
Virginians can easily search the Commonwealth’s unclaimed property database, claim property, and also report unclaimed property all online.
Additionally, “VA Money Search” regularly posts virtual call events to its Facebook page to help those who need assistance.
Organizations interested in hosting a virtual call event can contact Treasury staff here. As a reminder, officials say it is important to be aware of unauthorized or unsolicited fee-based offers and make sure you are working with an authorized state representative.
“Our mission is to protect the property interests of citizens and return these assets to the rightful owner,” said Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne. “The new virtual call events allow our staff to continue to assist our citizens while keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.”
The state reminds residents that the Unclaimed Property Program is a consumer protection initiative to benefit all citizens. There is no deadline to claim your property, and there are no commissions or fees charged through this free service. Since the program began in 1961, over $912 million has been paid out to Virginians.
“Treasury will continue to find creative ways to reunite owners with their unclaimed property,” said Virginia Treasurer Manju Ganeriwala. “We encourage all Virginians to search our free website for their unclaimed assets. There is no deadline and no fees will be charged to claim your property.”
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