NASHVILLE — Most of the time, when someone says that you may have “unclaimed funds” awaiting you and that all you have to do to claim the money/property is prove you are who you say you are, chances are, it’s probably a scam.

However, one such offer is very much legitimate, and right now, the State of Tennessee is holding nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS in assets that are just waiting to be claimed by rightful owners, or heirs, if a person is deceased.

Discovering this missing money can be as simple as searching an online database for your name, and submitting a claim through the state’s Unclaimed Property Division.

The Unclaimed Property program is a FREE consumer protection service of the Tenn. Dept. of Treasury, and yes, it is very much “on the level”. No scams here!

Unclaimed property is money that has been turned over to the State by businesses and organizations unable to locate the rightful owners.

Every year, millions of missing dollars are turned over, and the UPD works to return it to the rightful owner. There was $976.8 million waiting to be claimed, as of June 30, 2019, and more missing money has been turned over by businesses throughout the past fiscal year.

In Tennessee, unclaimed property is intangible assets, such as: utility refunds, uncashed paychecks, credit balances for overpayments, rental deposit refunds, gift certificates, securities, bank accounts, etc.

Once businesses have turned over property, the Treasury uses various proactive measures to locate the owners. The easiest way to find out if you have missing money is through our searchable database of the owners’ names available on the division’s website: ClaimItTN.gov. Our website also includes a link to help you search for missing money in other states.

There is no time limit on claiming the property, and there is never a fee to claim it in Tennessee. Beware of any service asking you to pay them to help you get your money back. If you are ever contacted about unclaimed property in Tennessee and would like to check the validity, go to ClaimItTN.gov.

The Treasury works to return unclaimed property through various methods throughout the year:

• Letters to Last Known Addresses: We mail letters to the address provided when the property was turned over from the business (holder). The Unclaimed Property Division has mailed approximately 200,000 letters to potential claimants since November 2019. If you have received a letter, you can verify the information by visiting ClaimItTN.gov.

• Social Security Match through Labor & Workforce Records: Treasury works with the TN Department of Labor & Workforce to match social security numbers with employment records. We mail letters to any owners via their current employers. When this happens, the employer delivers the letter to the owner of the unclaimed property.

ClaimItTN.gov: This searchable online database contains all unclaimed property in Tennessee dating to the beginning of the program. Visit www.ClaimItTN.gov to search for your name, and file your claim online. Treasury recommends searching for common misspellings of your name and addresses as well, as that may be why the business was unable to return the money to you initially.

“For most of us, it’s probably hard to believe that we might have overlooked a refund owed to us, or we over payed and have a credit balance in our name, or forgot to pick up our last paycheck at a job; however, the hundreds of thousands of names in our database show it happens quite often,” said Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. “This money belongs in Tennesseans’ bank accounts, and the easiest way to get it back to the rightful owners is for people to search our database for their name.”During the last fiscal year, the Division returned a record-breaking 62,549 claims totaling $65.4 million in cash property to the owners or their heirs, local governments, and states.