Americans—including the rich and famous—are losing out on billions of unclaimed money

Count your dollars IRL while you have them.
Count your dollars IRL while you have them.
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking
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When it comes to unclaimed property, such as unclaimed bank accounts, uncashed cashiers checks, unused gift cards, utility deposits or various overpayments, we are all equal.

In the US, states are required to take care of this money on your behalf. And it adds up—unclaimed money in California is more than $8 billion. This is easily searchable, by state, with the best place to start being here. It’s worth doing this regularly. In just a few hours, we found thousands of dollars for friends.

We also searched on behalf of a range of high-profile Americans. Like you, they may have realized that someone owes them money or may have simply forgotten about a rebate or an old account. We focused on California as the state gives the most detail, such as the total amount owed, but we also searched other relevant states, such as Texas and New York.

The largest unclaimed amount we found was $10,000 in uncashed cashiers checks for Steven Spielberg, followed by Tim Cook and Donald Trump for the same thing. The most curious, and perhaps the most ironic, were Bank of the West checking accounts to the value of $3,264 in the name of one Satoshi Nakamoto.

Companies can also have unclaimed amounts. For instance, Tesla Motors has at least $4,500 in unclaimed cash in California, some of it from oil company BP.

Here are some other examples:

  • Donald J. Trump has unclaimed money from NBC Universal.
  • Hillary Clinton has unclaimed money from Bergdorf Goodman, as does Steve Mnuchin.
  • Jony Ive has an unclaimed $6 from British Motors.
  • Marc Beniof has an unclaimed $9 from Apple.
  • Meg Whitman has an unclaimed $2.20 from eBay.
  • Sergey Brin has an unclaimed $9.53 from the New York Times.
  • Steve Jobs has an unclaimed $37.91 from Apple.
  • Elon Musk has unclaimed $30.18 from Paypal.
  • Kellyanne Conway has unclaimed money from Tiffany & Co for “undelivered goods and services.”

And here is the list of the top 20 unclaimed amounts we found among the rich & famous:

Note: The “money found” only includes amounts disclosed by the states. Some states, like New York, do not disclose the amount of unclaimed money so we don’t know how much some people are owed, like how much Donald Trump has outstanding from NBC Universal, for instance.