The State Comptroller's Office announced they've returned about $281 million in unclaimed property over the past fiscal year, and now hope a revamped website can increase that number.
"A lot of folks think, well you know, I’d never forget money. I’d never leave money on the table. But you know, this stuff can range from anything to utility deposits that have been forgotten to insurance premiums or mineral royalties, abandoned bank accounts, even safety deposit boxes," explained Chris Bryan, a spokesperson for the Texas Comptroller's Office.
Bryan said the launch of ClaimitTexas.org will allow easier search functions for users, and now allow people to directly upload ownership documents online. Before, people sent those documents through the mail, delaying the process.
"The other thing that we really focused on was making this more user-friendly in a mobile environment. So, so many of our claimants now are coming to us from their cell phone, from a tablet, from a mobile device. And the previous website did not have a whole lot of mobile functionality," said Bryan.
The site allows people to search by name - either personal or business - with options to narrow it down by city, zip code, claim ID, and property ID.
Bryan suggested people check the site every few months to see if anything of theirs has been added.
"There is no statute of limitations on unclaimed property. So even if this is something that you remember way back when, many years ago, go online, go to ClaimItTexas.org, check it out. You can always come to us and claim your property. The property always belongs to the rightful owner," said Bryan.
Officials plan to add to the abilities of the website moving forward, including at helping victims.
"The Legislature took some steps in the last Legislative session to make finding that victims restitution a little bit easier. And since we run a program here that is focused on getting that money back to rightful owners, I think they felt that we would be best positioned to make that process a little bit easier," said Bryan.
The source of the unclaimed property spans from the mundane to the unique.
"It ranges from everything to gold and jewelry and physical currency to recently we received a whole collection of first edition mathematics textbooks that folks had left in a safety deposit box," Bryan explained.
Since the program began in 1962, it has returned more than $2 billion in property to people.
Property less than $25 is not listed on the site. You can also call 800-321-2274 (CASH) to check on unclaimed property.