AUGUSTA – The Office of the State Treasurer returned a record number of unclaimed property claims in Maine this fiscal year.
According to the office, from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, a total of 30,642 claims worth $17.1 million have been paid off.
This beats the previous record set in 2018 by over 1,000 claims.
“We were able for the first time to use a database that we built as part of our new property tax relief program,” State Treasurer Henry Beck said.
Beck believes the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in this.
“We’ve been really pushing this message for people right now to know that there may be unclaimed property that we are holding,” Beck said. “An extra, you know, $25 even will make a difference for people.”
Unclaimed property can be a variety of things.
“Things like dormant bank accounts or uncashed checks or life insurance proceeds or estates,” Beck said.
Beck said their goal is to safeguard this money and get it back to its owners.
“People maybe lose checks, or they forget about a bank account, or they get a refund from their insurance company they don’t even know about,” Beck said.
He said people can see if they have unclaimed property.
“I encourage them to go to our website, look there,” Beck said. “You can call our office. You can speak with your local legislator as well and provide them lists. You can search your name or anyone else’s name to see if you have unclaimed property.”
Beck said it’s not hard to make a claim.
“Go to the website. Fill out the information,” Beck said. “Most claims are very simple. We just need you to prove that you are who you say you are. We match up that property and send you a check in the mail.”
People can claim unclaimed property at www.maineunclaimedproperty.gov.