Claiming Unclaimed Property

1 decade 6 months 1 week ago Tuesday, June 05 2007 Jun 5, 2007 Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:11:40 PM CDT June 05, 2007 in News
One in ten Missourians forget about their safe deposit boxes.

Employees at the unclaimed property office love their jobs because customers call them Santa Claus or Ed McMahon. They contact owners with unclaimed property from forgotten safe deposit boxes.

"People have safety deposit boxes to keep things safe or to hide them and some of the things people are hiding are unsavory," Director of Unclaimed Property Scott Harper said.

Most boxes have cash, but in a few they find some rather interesting items.

"Dentures, loose teeth, gold teeth. Having teeth in your safe deposit box is very interesting," Monica Boone, a support service coordinator, said.

"It was an exorcism audio tape and a transcript of it. It was eerie," Harper said.

A bank holds a safe deposit box for five years. If they do not hear from it's owner the box gets handed off to the state. The treasurer's office searches for the owner for two years before putting the property up for auction. Money from the auction goes in the unknown owner's file, so they still have a reward to collect.

Monica Boone uses the internet to find owners.

"I find people everywhere. Different states, different countries, here is Missouri, here if Jeff City, I've paid out individuals," Boone said.

Usually it is a happy ending. Since last July, the office reunited 56,000 people with their property.

Missourians can increase that number by making Monica's job easier.

"If you move give them a forwarding address. Let them know where you're going so you can keep track of your money," Boone said.

The office plans to put more items up for auction in the fall.

Last year the treasurer's office returned a record $22 million to people.

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