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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Department of the Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Program returned more than $67.8 million in unclaimed property to Virginians in fiscal year 2020, representing over 111,000 asset accounts. New virtual outreach has been implemented this year to assist individuals with filing their claims amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 Governor 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.”
Each year, the Department of the Treasury works to inform Virginians about the Unclaimed Property Program and assist in returning unclaimed assets. In addition to annual newspaper inserts distributed throughout the Commonwealth, this year Treasury staff have increased online and social media outreach and are collaborating with a variety of partners including television and radio stations, corporate human resources officers, statewide associations, businesses, community organizations, and schools to hold virtual outreach events that offer remote one-on-one assistance with initiating a search and starting a claim.
More than $912 million has been paid out to Virginians since this program started in 1961. Unclaimed property consists of “abandoned assets or accounts” which are considered dormant due to inactivity and can include utility deposits, customer refunds, unpaid wages, money from insurance policies, securities and investments, bank accounts, and tangible property. Property becomes unclaimed when the holder company has not had contact with the owner of the property for a specified period of time.
Virginia’s consumer protection law requires businesses to turn unclaimed property over to the state, relieving the business of the financial liability. Virginia holds the property as the custodian until the rightful owner, or heir, files a claim.
“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.”
Virginians can easily search the Commonwealth’s unclaimed property database by visiting VaMoneySearch.org. This free website allows individuals to search the Commonwealth’s unclaimed property database and download a claim form. Organizations interested in hosting a virtual call event should contact Treasury staff here.
It is important to be aware of unauthorized or unsolicited fee-based offers and make sure you are working with an authorized state representative. 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.
“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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