Unclaimed property: Is there money waiting for you? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Unclaimed property: Is there money waiting for you?

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Wisconsin has some hidden treasure out there.

The state is holding $411 million in unclaimed property, and there's a good chance some of it belongs to you.

For example, take David Coss. He's a veteran from Wisconsin Rapids. Now, he's a thousand dollars richer.

"In a tough economy, it's really nice," he said.

The money always belonged to Coss, but he never knew he had it—until recently.

"I got a letter first in the mail, and then they called me on the phone and they told me what to do," said Coss.

That call came from the state treasurer's office, telling Coss he had unclaimed property.

"What this is, is money that belongs to Wisconsinites that's in the hands of corporations, banks, insurance companies," said Wisconsin State Treasurer Kurt Schuller. "Somehow or another, they lose track of the actual holder."

But the state found David Coss, largely thanks to a new partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"That enabled us to locate 4,500 veterans in the state of Wisconsin who had unclaimed property," said Schuller.

The money came as a surprise to Coss and his wife, but they already know what they plan to do with it.

"I want to see the World War Two monument and the Vietnam Veterans wall," said Coss. "I've never seen the actual wall, and I've never really been to Washington at all."

Wisconsin has more than $400 million in unclaimed property. It's the state treasurer's job to find the rightful owners. But that's tough.

"There's so much worry about scams these days," said Schuller. "When it comes to somebody calling you up and telling you, you have money, your first instinct is to be suspicious."

Some claims are just pocket change, but others are life-changing.

"The most amount that I have handled is three quarters of a million dollars, which I hand-delivered to an 80-year-old couple in Wauwatosa," said Schuller.

Anyone can search the unclaimed property database online. That's what Sandy Wimmer's daughter did, and it turned out, the Wausau resident had money.

"It was from an insurance policy from when I was a child, and I just never cashed it in," said Wimmer.

But Wimmer had to prove who she was to get her money. She had to send documents verifying her social security number, address, and current drivers' license. She also had to have the documents notarized.

Wimmer said it wasn't too difficult.

"Not really," she said. "One stop took care of it."

The state asks for 90 days to review claims. But just two weeks later, Wimmer got a check for $2,000—just in time for the holidays.

"I just put it in the bank first, and then I did a little Christmas shopping," said Wimmer. "Now it's just helping me out in my retirement."

These are two success stories. But there are still more than two million claims out there, making it very possible that money could be waiting for you.

Click here to visit the unclaimed property website.

There are several requirements for claiming your money. Check those out here.

However, if a claim is under $2,000, there's a chance it could be fast-tracked. Ron Giordan, spokesman for the state treasurer's office, said claimants could be given an option to enter a social security number. If that number matches what the treasurer's office has, the claim might be fast-tracked. No paperwork would need to be mailed in, and the money would be sent in 10 business days.

You can also contact the Unclaimed Property Unit:

P.O. Box 2114
Madison, WI 53701-2114
Phone: (608) 267-7977
Toll Free: (877) 699-9211
Fax: (608) 261-6799

 

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