September 19, 2014

Going to the State Fair? You could leave with some unclaimed property (AUDIO)

A few minutes at a booth at the State Fair could net you some pocket change, or more.

Nebraskans attending the State Fair at Fonner Park in Grand Island are being urged to visit the State Treasurer’s unclaimed property booth at the Exhibition Building to see if any of the holdings might be theirs.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg notes that with his office holding approximately $100 million in unclaimed property belonging to 350,000 Nebraskans or former Nebraskans, it’s possible he might be holding something for you.

“If you’re in a room with five people, the odds are that one of those five people has unclaimed property that’s being held by the State Treasurer,” Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Stenberg tells of a couple who visited the booth at the State Fair. The husband said not to bother. The wife insisted and walked away with $160.

Stenberg says some of the unclaimed property is more than mere pocket change.

“It’s very surprising that people would lose track of money, particularly when it’s large sums of money and we do have some holdings that are over $100,000 in an individual situation,” Stenberg says. “All I can tell you is, I don’t know how it happens, but it happens a lot.”

The 13 largest pieces of property held by the Treasurer’s Office range from around $47,000 for a claimant in Douglas County to $154,000 in Webster County.

Unclaimed property can range widely, from rent/utility deposits to dormant bank accounts to the contents of safe deposit boxes. The Treasurer’s Office auctions property every five years, but keeps the proceeds for their rightful owner.

If you cannot get to the State Fair, go to the Treasurer’s website, treasurer.org, for more information.

The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), another division of the office, hosts a booth next to the unclaimed property booth. First National Bank of Omaha officials will be on hand to discuss the state-sponsored 529-college savings plan.

AUDIO: State Treasurer Don Stenberg discusses the unclaimed property booth with Brent Martin. [5:20]