WV Unclaimed Property returns hit new high mark with $300 Million returned since inception

28 March 2024- State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced the Treasurer’s Office’s Unclaimed Property Division has now returned more than $300 million to rightful owners since the program began in 1967, with the rate of return growing rapidly in recent years.

“We’ve been telling people we’ve been returning unclaimed property at the fastest pace in state history, and this milestone underscores that,” Treasurer Moore said. “It took more than 40 years to return the first $100 million, 8 years to return the second $100 million, and less than 5 years to return this last $100 million – with more than $71 million of that returned since I took office.”

The unclaimed property program is designed to return lost or abandoned funds to its rightful owners – funds tied to things like uncashed or stale-dated checks, forgotten or abandoned bank or retirement accounts, or lost refund payments.

As of the beginning of March, the Unclaimed Property Division had returned $300,815,633.36 in lost and unclaimed funds since the program was launched July 1, 1967 (State Fiscal Year 1968). The program crossed the $100 million returned mark during the 2011 fiscal year, and the $200 million mark in Fiscal Year 2019. Last year, the program returned a record of more than $26 million to individuals, businesses and other organizations.

“While we’ve been returning funds at a record pace, we still have more than $430 million worth of unclaimed monies in our database,” Treasurer Moore said. “We continually get new listings in all the time, so I encourage everyone to visit our website – www.WVUnclaimedProperty.gov – to see if we’re holding anything for you.”

The advent of the online database and computerized reporting in the late 1990s transformed the unclaimed property return process in West Virginia. Prior to 1998, no more than a few thousand dollars was being returned each year. It wasn’t until 1999 that the state began returning more than $1 million annually to its citizens.

Beginning with the 2016 fiscal year, the state began regularly returning more than $10 million annually. Since Treasurer Moore took office in 2021, the Division has returned more than $71.3 million.

The increase in recent years is due in part to an increased focus in online and digital marketing of the program as well as the launch of the West Virginia Cash Now program, which automatically returns certain claims to owners with addresses in readily available databases.