Your Lost Treasure

Billions of dollars in forgotten funds are waiting to be reclaimed. Here's how to get yours

Where do you think the money winds up when a gift certificate goes unredeemed? You probably assume that it's a windfall for the store that collected the cash and never had to deliver anything. But that's not supposed to be the case. After a waiting period--usually three to five years--the retailer is supposed to give the unspent money to the state, which is supposed to find the owner and give back the cash.

Yeah. That's gonna happen.

Surprisingly, though, at least sometimes it does happen. Even better, givebacks are becoming more common as states make it easier to search for...

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