Tampa Bay residents have $260 million in unclaimed money

Tampa Bay residents have $260 million in unclaimed money (Image 1)

Finding a small fortune might be closer than you think.

One out of every three people in Hillsborough County has unclaimed property. Similar numbers pop up in Pinellas. Polk, Pasco Counties. Manatee County residents have a slightly smaller chance, with one out of every four people in the state unclaimed pot.

8 On Your Side set out to track down people and help them claim what’s rightfully theirs. Reporter Adrienne Pedersen requested a list from the Florida CFO of people with unclaimed money in the Bay Area.

What you need to know: How long it will take, necessary forms of ID

Blake Guthrie lives in Miami now but 8 On Your Side found his funds under a former Bradenton address.

“When you contacted me I was like, ‘I guess I’ll check it out,'” Guthrie said. “I was very surprised and relieved to find out I had $700. I’m so glad you reached out to me that’s for sure.”

Related: Unclaimed Money | Top 10 Single Highest Claims By State

Like a lot of people, Guthrie thought he only had a few dollars in the unclaimed property bank.

“When I was a kid, I used to get dividend checks for 25 cents because of stock in Pepsi and Yum Brands which is Pizza Hut,” Guthrie said. “Obviously those companies have done well and I didn’t even know I was the benefit of that.”

BY THE NUMBERS
Below is a county-level breakdown of the money owed to either current or past residents:

  • Hillsborough County – $96 million
  • Pinellas County  – $81 million
  • Polk County – $31 million. 
  • Pasco County – $29 million 
  • Manatee County – $22 million

The money sits in a fund with the state and is everything from old pay checks, stocks, refunds, deposits, etc.

Even local business owners can get an easy pay day. 8 On Your Side found Alessi’s Bakery on the list. The company has a check for more than $300 from Coca Cola.

Related: Tips For Finding Unclaimed Money (for mobile users)

THINGS TO KNOW

  • You should never pay someone to get your own money back for you. You may receive a call or letter from a company stating they’ve found money for you. These companies may make it seem super easy for them to get the money for you, but they’ll want as much as 30-40 percent of the money found. You can do it yourself. The process is relatively easy.
  • Every state has a free online database where you can check your name.

The highest amount owed in the Bay Area is around $500,000. The CFO just tracked down a man in Palm Beach County, and gave him a $27,000 check. Could you be next?

Check the website here to begin your search for unclaimed money here.

Before you go, if you happen to find some cash that is owed to you, we’d love to hear about your success. Please send us an email and tell us about it. You can email: Online@wfla.com 

Copyright WFLA 2015.  All rights reserved.

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