In 2012, Will County Treasurer Steve Weber announced that his office has recovered $140,813 in unclaimed property owed to the Will County Highway Department. In doing so, Weber’s office averted paying over $42,000 in fees to a professional money finder.
What are Professional Money Finders?
Professional money finders search state unclaimed property databases and then contact the people names as recipients on those lists. For a fee—typically 30% to 50% of the amount “found”—a money finder will tell the individual where and how to claim the “lost” property.
“The hidden truth about money finders is that they search databases that anyone can search online,” Weber said, “Before entering into a contract to ‘locate’ money owed you, do your own research first.”
“Don’t pay someone else until you do your homework first,” Weber said, “It will save you money.”
The Missing $140,813 Refund
Last November, an Arizona-based professional money finder contacted the Will County Treasurer’s Office claiming to have found money owed the county. The firm offered to identify the location on the money for a 30% fee.
“We immediately researched money owed the county in that amount and discovered that it was a refund for preliminary engineering for a Highway Department project on 95th Street,” Weber said, “We then contacted the vendor to confirm that the refund was valid, and then applied to recover the funds through the Illinois Comptroller’s Office.”
“It appears that the Highway Department never received the check or failed to deposit it,” Weber said.
“If we’re big enough to lose it, we’re big enough to find it and make sure it never happens again,” Weber added, “My office now checks the Illinois Cash Dash on a monthly basis to make sure nothing else slips through the system. Other county departments should do the same.”
Resources for Finding Unclaimed Funds
The Will County Unclaimed Funds Report covers all outstanding funds held by our office since January 1970. The Will County Treasurer’s Office updates this report monthly.
Banks and businesses must turn over unclaimed property to the Illinois Treasurer if they cannot locate the rightful owner after five years. Illinois Cash Dash is a service to research that database.
National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators provides links to the Cash Dash-type programs in other states. This site is a service of the National Association of State Treasurers.