Found a book of old checks or an old statement when you were digging through your files? Or think you might have that college savings account you opened when you were, well, in college? This article explain in a few easy steps how you might find out if that account is still active.
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Start at the beginning. If you have no idea at which banks old accounts may be, start by requesting a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free one every 12 months under federal law. Your credit report will show account reviews and list banking institutions where you have or have had accounts. Feel free to skip this step if you know the bank of the account.
Go into a local branch of the bank or call the bank's customer service line. Tell the representative you want to know if an account is active. You will be asked to verify your identity so be sure to have a piece of identification if you go into a bank.
If you do not have an account number, simply tell the representative that you suspect that you have an account with the institution and give them your identifying information. Giving them your social security number may be a good way to start because names could be misspelled and addresses change. If your social security number does not turn up results, be sure to have the bank representative check with your name.
Tips and warnings
- It is possible that your inactive account has been turned over to the state. For example, California Unclaimed Property law requires institutions such as banks to deliver property to the California Controller's office after there has been no customer contact for three years. Each state's requirement may be different. Each state may have a different name for the state controller's office. A Google search of "unclaimed property" and the name of your state should lead you to the official state website at which you will be able to search for unclaimed properties by your name. Be sure that you are clicking on official government websites. You will also find instructions on how to reclaim your unclaimed properties on these official sites.
- This article only describes the steps to finding out whether your own old account is still active. Most, if not all banks will not release information regarding their customers to third parties. If you have power of attorney over the account holder or you are entitled to an account or funds under a valid will. In these cases, you may wish to bring any legal documents into banks directly or consult an attorney.
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