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Unclaimed money is lucky find

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

For Thomas and Allison Cath, it was the careful eye of several friends which led them to discover they had $1,100 in cash they never even knew about.

The friends read their names in a list published in several newspapers recently by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.

The money turned out to be an insurance claim and a financial security, most likely a matured bond or stock dividend, the couple didn't realize they had coming to them.

The attorney general's office last published a list of people with property that had not been claimed by owners in March. The next list will be published in the BannerGraphic Wednesday, May 31.

However, for those eager to look now whether they or their loved ones have money coming, the office also sponsors a website, IndianaUnclaimed.com. The site offers a search engine where visitors can enter their name and see if any money is coming to them.

Like the Caths, most people find their unclaimed money is in the form of stocks, bonds and other financial investments.

The office reported last year that $260,316 in unclaimed property was available to Putnam County residents, and 373 claims for that money were received.

Busy with work and other commitments, Allison Cath said her family has not yet finished the process of claiming their $11,000 in other property, but intends to do so.

"Read that unclaimed list carefully," she said. "We have been pleasantly surprised to find we had (claims) we never would have known about otherwise."

The Caths fall under the lucky 6 percent of claims for more than $500. Most people who had names on the list found they were owed less than $100.

Now, Cath said she and her husband will need to fill out an application form and provide the attorney general's office with proof of their identities and proof they have connections to the companies who owe them the money.

Other forms of unclaimed property come in the forms of checks, wages and payroll, insurance, forgotten bank accounts, court deposits, utility deposits, trusts and interest payments.

More than $26 million worth of the unclaimed money was returned to Hoosiers in 2005, up $5 million from the year before.

To check online for unclaimed accounts, go to www.Indiana Unclaimed.com and click on search. For more information, go to the website or call the Unclaimed Property Division at 1-866-IN-CLAIM (462-5246).

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