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One in 8 Illinois residents has unclaimed property

Published: Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 2:19 p.m. CDT

By Sally Deneen

One out of eight Illinois residents is missing money or valuables that are sitting as unclaimed property with the state, according to the Illinois State Treasurer's office. Yet they haven't found out whether their names show up on the list of people who need to claim their forgotten treasure, including cash that altogether totals $1.7 billion.

"Almost everybody knows somebody with unclaimed assets: One in eight Illinois residents has an asset to be claimed," according to the treasurer's I-Cash program website. I-Cash returned $30 million in property for the first quarter of 2013.

Assets run the gamut – cash from long-closed bank accounts, jewelry left in forgotten bank safe-deposit boxes, stocks, rebate checks and more.

"The state currently has $1.7 billion dollars in cash," the website states, "plus contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes, which need to be returned to Illinois residents."

Don't just check for missing money in Illinois. Visit the unclaimed property bureau in other states, especially if you’ve found a home in another state. If you formerly lived in Baton Rouge, for example, call the capital city at 1-888-925-4127 or go to LATreasury.com to check whether Louisiana is holding unclaimed assets belonging to you, your family or business. Or visit MissingMoney.com that lets you search your name in the databases of several participating states simultaneously.

Type typical misspellings of your name into these searchable databases in case your missing check was made out to "Sean Johnson" instead of, say, "Shawn Johannsen."

Check your name monthly; that's because the Illinois database is updated every Sunday – with nearly 200,000 new properties added in just the first quarter of this year, advises the Treasurer's office.

“It’s common for people to check one month and find no properties in their names, only to return the next month and find cash or other property on the list,” Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said.

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