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Unclaimed property listed in newspapers generates interest

CHARLESTON. W.Va. – Electronic claims filed by rightful owners of unclaimed property more than tripled in in the month after state Treasurer John Perdue inserted the spring 2014 unclaimed property listing in newspapers around West Virginia.

The unclaimed property inserts, included in the largest newspapers in each of all 55 counties, typically include about 13,000 names, all previously unpublished. The names are of those who have lost track of assets now held in custody by the Treasurer’s office. Perdue’s office makes continual efforts to reunite those people with those assets, or property.

Recent inserts appeared in newspapers between March 17 and April 10, likely spawning the filing of 1,801 electronic claims between March 19 and April 29. That contrasts with 534 such claims filed between Feb. 19 and March 19.

“Our mission remains to return as much unclaimed property to folks as we possibly can,” said Treasurer Perdue. “Newsprint inserts aren’t new technology but they remain effective in spurring e-claims and phone calls.”

Unclaimed property is any asset from which a person has become separated, excluding real estate. Examples are forgotten utility deposits, a left-behind paycheck or stock dividends left uncashed for at least five years.

 The most recent insert indeed sparked a flurry of calls, as recorded by the office’s Unclaimed Property Division. The peak came April 4, when 423 people who had either seen their name or had been told about it called. In all, more than 280 calls came in on each of seven days during the period.

“You need not wait for insert publications to see if unclaimed property is in your name,” said officials at the Treasurer’s office. “Go to www.wvtreasury.com and click on the unclaimed property icon to the left. If a search turns up your name, you may file an electronic claim at the site. Another way to search is at www.missingmoney.com, a national search engine for unclaimed property. Claims may not be filed there.”

For those who prefer the telephone, they can call 1-800-642-8687.

“Our staff members are particularly trained to handle questions and I personally put a high priority on their ability to do that,” Perdue said. “We are here to serve, whether online or by person-to-person contact.”

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