Unclaimed Funds are assets that have existed in accounts or deposits that were inactive for a long period, usually five or more years. After this dormant period, holders of these accounts are required by Ohio law to turn them over to the Ohio Department of Commerce if the holder is unable to locate the owner of the funds.
These funds are held by the state until claimed by the rightful owner. The Ohio Unclaimed Funds list is accessible online. Periodically, the state publishes this list in the major newspaper of each county.
Types of Funds
Unclaimed fund accounts come from a variety of sources, such as:
Inactive checking and savings accounts
Forgotten rent or utility deposits
Stock shares and dividend checks
Safe Deposit Box contents
Use caution if you are contacted by a finder. While there are services that will actually locate and recover assets for you, they charge a fee to recover them. The government agencies that hold these funds make the lists available free of charge.
There are scam artists who use unclaimed funds as a hook to defraud people. These scams are usually of two varieties. One asks for an up-front fee to pay for the cost of recovering the funds. Never pay an up-front fee.
The other common variety of fraud asks you to supply information to "help" locate your funds such as your social security number, bank account or credit card information. This information is then used for identity theft. Never provide personal information to parties who contact you without being certain with whom you are dealing.