In the United States today, experts think that about $40 billion in unclaimed money is collecting dust in state Abandoned and Unclaimed Property offices. Some of the monetary items that end up in a states possessions after being declared abandoned by the holding institution include:
forgotten bank accounts un-cashed stock dividends insurance payments safe deposit boxes utility deposits travelers checks money orders security deposits gift cards and certificates
People move away, lose track of investments, or die, and the accounts or funds, after a set amount of time — frequently three to five years - are reported to the state Treasurers Escheats, Comptrollers, or Revenue office. The state then tries to track down, the owners and return the money.