Unclaimed Property - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is unclaimed property?

Unclaimed property consists of money and other assets that are considered lost or abandoned after an owner cannot be located for a specific period of time. It includes bank accounts; stocks and dividends; wages; refunds; safe deposit boxes; insurance payments; gift certificates; credit memos; account receivable credits and payables, just to name a few.

Q. Why is there an unclaimed property law?

The unclaimed property law is designed to collect, safeguard and return lost or forgotten property to its rightful owners. Each state has similar laws.

Q. How Does Property Become Unclaimed?

Most property is turned over to the Treasury if it has been inactive for three years. However, wages and utility deposits become unclaimed after one year.

Q. Does the State or the institution holding the property try to find the owners?

Yes. By law each institution must send a letter to the last known address within 120 days of reporting the money to the Treasurer's Office. The State publishes the list of unclaimed property in Rhode Island newspapers each spring. This list contains only the current year's information. Also, the Treasurer's Office visits various Community and Senior Centers in an attempt to unite owners with their lost assets. The list on this web page is the cumulative list starting with accounts back to the 1940's, and contains the names of about 60,000 individuals and businesses.

Q. How can I find out whether I have a dormant account?

You can check our "Missing Money" web page for your name, or contact our office by phone at (401) 462-7676 or by mail at:

Unclaimed Property Division
Office of the General Treasurer Operations Center
50 Service Ave
Warwick, RI 02886

Office visits are by appointment only. Most transactions can be done by mail. If we find your name on the list, we will mail you the necessary forms for you to claim the property. You will have to provide proof that the funds are yours. Proof may consist of an old savings passbook, utility bill, or social security card. Proof depends on the information that we have regarding the account. When we send out the forms we will explain to you what is required.

Q. Do I have to pay a fee to reclaim my money?

No! Since the information is a public record, many private individuals and companies have access to the unclaimed property list. They may contact you and offer to reunite you with your money for a fee, such as a percentage of the recovery. Although this practice is legal, you may be able to recover 100% of your money without any fees if you contact the Unclaimed Property Division.

Q. What happens to abandoned property which remains unclaimed?

The money is held in trust until the rightful owner or heir comes forward. The state will not assume ownership of unclaimed property

Q. Who should file an unclaimed property report?

All businesses with two or more employees should file a report each year with the General Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Division. This includes, but is not limited to, banks; credit unions; insurance companies; corporations; partnerships; retail stores; manufacturers; hotels; restaurants and utilities.

Q. Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact the Unclaimed Property Division of the Treasurer's Office by e-mail at ups@treasury.ri.gov or by phone at (401) 462-7676.