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I-Team: State treasury officials say some residents may have unclaimed property

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(WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — Pennsylvania Treasury officials are urging state residents to look into the possibility that they may have unclaimed property currently being held by the state.

It could include real estate, cash, estate settlement items and even military service medals. The treasury had upgraded its website that enables residents to search for property that belongs to them.

Do you have a “treasure” that belongs to you? State officials are reaching out to all Pennsylvanians about unclaimed property.

State officials say many Pennsylvanians have no idea that they may have cash or other valuables that belong to them sitting in a vault in Harrisburg. They want to change that and are making it easier for people to track down potential ‘unclaimed property.”

“We have close to $4 billion worth. That’s a “b” billion worth of unclaimed property in the state,” said Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity.

She tells the I-Team they are trying to return it to its rightful owners.

“It could be an old bank account that’s gone dormant, an old retirement account from a job somebody had years ago. It could be stocks, tangible items, also a lot of unclaimed property comes from abandoned safety deposit boxes,” Garrity explained.

Eyewitness News was shown the unclaimed property vault in Harrisburg several years ago. There was a little bit of everything in the vault. The state treasury department updated its website which allows people to check if they have unclaimed property.

“It does make it easier for folks to claim their property and we’ve improved security,” Garrity said.

“Well, just in Lackawanna County alone there is nearly $40 million of unclaimed property…There’s over $50 million in unclaimed property in Luzerne County,” said James May, Regional Public Affairs Manager for the Pennsylvania Treasury.

Treasury officials believe that some people who were contacted by state officials never responded to the calls.

“Well, one of the things that happens is when people in the treasury department call people to tell them they have money, often times they think it’s a scam. It seems almost too hard to believe there’s really money in the government no catches, no strings, no cost to get this money back,” said May.

State treasurer Garrity tells the I-Team that there are also more than 700 military medals that have been unclaimed. Garrity says the state returns millions of dollars of unclaimed property each year and she believes the upgraded website will increase the amount of returns.

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