Just for kicks, I plugged into a state database the names of a few close friends to see if they were attached to unclaimed property. The treasurer’s department recently announced it was holding almost $3 million in property linked to addresses in Duchesne and Uintah counties, which sounds like a lot but is only a fraction of the statewide $370 million it holds.
Sure enough, a friend’s name came up. The property: a refund from T-Mobile. The amount: Less than $100.
I immediately texted her: The state owes you money. In fairness, Utah doesn’t owe this money, but is holding in trust things like uncashed payroll checks or funds from forgotten bank accounts, which companies are required to hand over. A phone company, it turns out, tried to give my friend a refund. For whatever reason, she never got it.
She knew. “I tried to get that money once,” she responded. The problem, however, is that the address in the database is for an apartment complex where she briefly lived more than 10 years ago. To get the money, my friend is required to prove that she lived at the listed address, a safeguard against faulty claims but an enormous hurdle for someone who’s lived as nomadic a life as she has.
“And fuck if I have proof,” she added.
Still, more rooted residents with better bookkeeping can check out the site mycash.utah.gov to see if the state is holding their money. Claims are listed in two value categories, those worth more than $100 and those worth less; the average value of property is about $382.
Utah State Treasurer David Damschen said in a released statement that “checking to see if you’ve lost property is simple, easy and something everyone should do for themselves, their families and friends.”
The site launched last year and has been remarkably successful in helping residents reunite with their cash.
“In 2015 alone, a record $22.5 million was paid out to owners or descendants of owners who filed claims,” the treasurer’s office said, which, just in time for the holidays added, is a highlight of the job.