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Redwood City Holding Part of $6 Billion in Unclaimed Property

From the Redwood City Chamber of Commerce to the Redwood City School District, Redwood City individuals and entities have contributed to the state's $6 billion lost-and-found collection. Could any of it belong to you?

Are you missing any diamonds? How about those bars of solid gold you might have forgotten about? Did you perhaps leave a lump sum of cash in an old bank account?

If you did, then you're joining businesses and organizations like the Redwood City Chamber of Commerce, the Redwood City School District, the Redwood City Chevron on Woodside and other Californians contributing to more than $6 billion of unclaimed items in the state's lost-and-found collection.

State Controller John Chiang is on a mission to find the owners of this treasure trove — all 17.6 million of them. 

Some of the more unusual items in the kitty include a sack of loose diamonds with an estimated worth of $500,000, almost 20 pounds of gold bars worth $375,000, and — less valuable but perhaps no less precious to the long-lost owners out there — a can of sardines, a can of condensed milk and plenty of family photos.

Much of the unclaimed property comes from safety deposit boxes and lost or forgotten financial accounts, which includes:

  • cash in inactive bank accounts
  • overpayments to businesses.
  • terminated insurance policies, stocks, securities and utility deposits

"In many cases, businesses have lost contact with the customer and sent the account to the state for safekeeping," said Chiang in a video message about the state's unclaimed property.

San Rafael businesses and individuals have contributed a share of the unclaimed goods being held by the state. The unclaimed cash comes from a variety of sources, including fee refunds from the school district, group policy benefits from employers and outstanding checks or overpayments to agencies.

So, how do you find out if you're owed treasure? The state controller's office provides an online searchable database for unclaimed property in California. Type in your name, or your business name, and see what you've been missing.

What do you think the state should do with its $6 billion of unclaimed cash and goods? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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