SHERMAN, TX - There more than two billion of dollars in unclaimed money in Texas, and in most cases, the rightful owners don't even know about it. Now, the state is pushing to get that money back to the people and into the economy just in time for Christmas.
Each year, the State Comptroller publishes the names of hundreds of thousands of Texans who have cash that's just waiting to be claimed. The items range from things like rental deposits, to lost paychecks or forgotten bank accounts.
It’s not just individuals with money to their names. Many local governments have unclaimed money too. Allen Spelce with the State Comptroller’s office says that’s lots of money that could be going to better use.
"It can be anywhere from $38 to $30K or more," Spelce said.
The City of Sherman and the City of Van Alstyne are entitled to more than $1,000 each. The City of Dallas has nearly $3,000 in unclaimed money, and the City of Austin has more than $15K in unclaimed money.
"We've made a concerted effort to get in touch with lots of local governments, municipalities, non-profit organizations that have unclaimed property or money that the state is holding," said Spelce.
He also says that the idol money would be helping the economy, if it were in the right hands.
"We kind of view the unclaimed property as instant stimulus money, real stimulus, especially right around the Christmas time like this," said Spelce.
That's why the list of unclaimed property is shared in newspapers, online and even at the state fair. Still, unsuspecting residents, like Marlene Wilson, were surprised to hear they're entitled to hundreds of dollars.
"That's unreal. That just blows me away just to think people don't know they have it, and it's out there," Wilson said.
According to an online database, it appears Wilson's husband has about $300 in unclaimed money.
"We've got eight grandkids. That will come in handy," said Wilson.
A few years ago, Jan Hickerson found out the state was holding about $10K of money she didn't know she had.
"We didn't know that my dad had that money, so it does pay to look at that website occasionally," Hickerson said.
The list of unclaimed property is posted online at claimittexas.org. The state put $163M back into Texans’ pockets through the site last year.