Thousands of people in Greater Cincinnati are owed money being held by the state of Ohio.
WLWT recently went to Columbus to find out more about the things that go unclaimed and how they got there. One of them is a bag of Kennedy half-dollars worth more than $500.
There’s also cash, life insurance policies, stamps and baseball cards, all being stored at the Department of Commerce in Columbus, and it could belong to you or your family.
Marlene Chukes, deputy superintendent of the Division of Unclaimed Funds, said the state is currently holding $2.8 billion in unclaimed funds.
If somebody has a safe deposit box and there’s no activity for three years or more, the bank tries to contact the owner. If the bank is unable to make contact, by law, the contents of unclaimed boxes are turned over every November to the state of Ohio.
“It always makes me wonder: How do people not keep up with their funds?” Chukes said. “My advice to people is make sure you keep your accounts active and current. Notify any company when you’re moving. If you move, let a family or relative know you have these accounts.”
Mike Scott, a researcher for the state of Ohio, wants nothing more than for people to get what’s rightfully theirs.
He showed WLWT tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gold coins that have not been claimed. He said the gold often comes in unusual packages, recalling an instance in which he discovered gold dental work, complete with the teeth.
From Prince Charles and Princess Diana 1981 wedding announcements, to special coins marking the 1985 night that Pete Rose became the all-time hit king, there are a variety of valuables up for grabs.
Chukes recalled several instances in which Ohioans were left large sums of money in the wake of a loved one’s death. One woman’s story was particularly memorable, Chukes said. A woman thought she was coming to get only $40 or $50 left after her husband’s death. She discovered that he left her much more.
“It was hundreds of thousands of dollars. She was literally in tears,” Chukes said. “The examiner was in tears. She was happy her husband was looking out for her from the grave.”
WLWT looked through names and numbers for the six major counties in the Cincinnati area. Dozens of people are owed $50,000 or more and at least 10 are owed six-figure sums.
Much of it comes from money and items left in safe deposit boxes. It often happens when a person dies or moves and nobody else knows about it.
It’s not just about safe deposit boxes, officials said. Maybe you put down a deposit on an apartment in college and you never got it back.
Perhaps you left your job at McDonald’s as a teenager and never got your last paycheck. These are all things that the state of Ohio could now be holding.
It’s important to note that after you enter your name, if it’s a safe deposit box that shows a zero value, you still need to check with the Department of Commerce.
A zero value means only that officials haven’t put a value on it.