More than $53,200 of unclaimed property was returned to rightful owners as a result of claims initiated or paid during the Nebraska State Fair, Aug. 22-Sept. 1, in Grand Island, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today. That’s up from last year when $52,000 was returned as a result of activity at the State Fair.
The number of claims approved also increased from 133 in 2013 to 151 in 2014, Stenberg said.
“We experienced a steady stream of visitors to our unclaimed property booth at this year’s State Fair, just as we did last year, and our unclaimed property specialists stayed very busy helping visitors search for property and file claims,” Stenberg said. “Interest from fairgoers, calls to our office, and visitors to our website tell us that Nebraskans are becoming more familiar with our unclaimed property program and are taking advantage of opportunities to search for themselves, their businesses, and their family members.”
For the past two years, both the number of claims paid and the total dollar value of claims paid as a result of State Fair activity have increased significantly, Stenberg said. In 2012, for comparison, only about $17,500 was paid to fairgoers. About 90 claims were paid that year as a result of State Fair activity.
Stenberg pointed out that the $53,000 paid to fairgoers in 2014 and the $52,000 paid in 2013 far exceed previous annual totals for all outreach events. Generally unclaimed property specialists staff a dozen or so events throughout the state each year. Total amounts paid as a result of all outreach events in recent years include the following amounts:
2008 –$24,637; 172 claims
2009 – $26,797; 130 claims
2010 – $9,750; 88 claims
2011- $31,113, 140 claims
Stenberg said he plans to continue to promote the unclaimed property program and to look for innovative ways to help connect Nebraskans with property that is rightfully theirs. The Treasurer’s Office database includes more than $135 million in unclaimed property for 350,000 people, businesses, and organizations. So far in 2014, more than $8.3 million has been paid. That represents more than 14,200 claims paid.
The unclaimed property staff’s final outreach event of the year will be Nov. 19-20 at the Gateway Ag Expo in Kearney. The Northeast Nebraska Farm and Equipment Show in Norfolk on Jan. 14-15 will kick off outreach events for 2015.
Unclaimed property consists of cash and other financial assets that are considered lost or abandoned after an owner cannot be located for a specific period of time. The most common forms of unclaimed property are court deposits, dividends, dormant accounts, gift certificates, insurance payments, lost IRAs, matured CDs, rebates, refunds, stock and mutual funds, utility deposits, and wages.
Nebraskans can search for unclaimed property at any time through the Treasurer’s Office website at www.treasurer.org or by calling 402-471-8497 or 877-572-9688 (toll free). The Unclaimed Property Division office at 809 P St. in Lincoln is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors can also search for property and file claims at the State Treasurer’s office in Suite 2005 of the State Capitol.