A stop at State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald’s Great Iowa Treasure Hunt booth during the Iowa State Fair paid off for many fairgoers. “The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt booth had a very successful year at the Iowa State Fair,” Fitzgerald said. “New this year, fairgoers were able to make their claims directly at the booth and take advantage of our easy-to-use online claiming process.” Fairgoers found over 8,000 unclaimed properties, totaling more than $600,000 in value. The largest claim was over $63,000. Due to the new process, over $15,000 was paid before the end of the fair.
Fairgoer Beverly Schley of Winterset stopped by the booth the first day of the fair with her 1964 insurance policy, which provided the additional information the office needed to pay her claim. Using the new upload feature on the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt
website, treasury staff was able to help her upload her documentation within minutes. Beverly’s claim was paid before the end of the fair. “I was so pleased with your help at the fair. It is so nice to have someone helpful when you are among the elderly.” Beverly told the staff. “I was so touched by the story that I wanted to meet Beverly in person,” Fitzgerald said. “So we drove to Winterset to deliver her check. Beverly is the reason we have the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, to reunite people with their lost money.”
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $231 million in unclaimed property to more than 538,000 people since Fitzgerald created it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property’s owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report unclaimed property to the state treasurer’s office. The assets are then held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits and safe deposit box contents.
Visit the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt at GreatIowaTreasureHunt.gov to begin your search and make your claim today. Like Great Iowa Treasure Hunt on Facebook and follow the program on Twitter @GreatIATreasure.
Location: Des Moines, IA