Push to reunite people with money they are owed in the state of Virginia during pandemic

Posted at 1:47 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 22:28:08-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Almost $70 million has been given out to Virginians this year, and there is $2 billion waiting to be claimed.

You may be owed money from the Department of Treasury, and now they are implementing new programs to reach people during the pandemic.

“I received this envelope from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of the Treasury. I looked at it and thought, 'Whatever this says, it can’t be good news,'" said a woman we are only identifying as Lynn.

Never did she think she would get money sent back to her from the Virginia Department of Treasury.

She said an old deposit from years ago, along with stocks from 20 years ago that she forgot she had received, was being held by the state.

She put the money in her savings and bought new clothes. We are not releasing how much she received for privacy reasons.

“I was a little skeptical at first. I think we all grow up thinking that if something is too good to be true, but more than likely it probably is,” said Lynn.

“We want to reach any adult that's ever had a Virginia address, and we want to help them get back their unclaimed property that may be in our system, especially during these times when every dollar can help,” said Diana Shaban, the PR & Marketing Manager for the Virginia Department of the Treasury.

State officials say consumer protection laws require businesses to turn unclaimed property over to the state – things like bonds, insurance proceeds, utility deposits or stocks. The state holds on to the property or money until it can be turned over to the rightful owner or the heir.

News 3 previously took a tour of their vault where property is kept in Richmond. Normally, they’ve held in-person events to try and reunite people with funds, but COVID-19 is preventing that, so they took action to create virtual call centers.

“We really wanted to make sure that we did not miss a beat in getting our important message out to our citizens and assisting them during these really challenging times,” said Shaban. “We quickly implemented new technology that actually allows us to run virtual call events.”

Companies, organizations or businesses can team up with the Department of Treasury, and they will help people look up to see if they have unclaimed property.

They said they have returned more than $912 million since this program was started in 1961.

“As we continue dealing with the economic impacts of this pandemic, we are getting Virginians the money that is owed to them as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “The millions of dollars returned this year is a testament to the hardworking Treasury staff who are finding new ways to reunite people with their unclaimed assets despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.”

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