Reported by Joanne Lu.
This morning Columbia resident Jim Brantley received a check of more than $66,000 from State Treasurer Curtis Loftis on behalf of a family member whose name Brantley found on the Palmetto Payback unclaimed properties list.
The database was set up for people to search their name for any unclaimed property–money that never made it to the rightful owner and was thereby entrusted to the state until claimed. Loftis says it could be money from nearly any situation.
“You could have money coming to you that is as simple as a cable TV bill that you just didn’t get your deposit back, or a landlord. It could be an old paycheck–maybe you got married in a hurry and took off to California for bigger and better things and forgot about it,” Loftis said.” In this case, it was an insurance policy that was written–if I understand it right–in the maiden name. And, of course, the parents were older, they died, the maiden name was floating around out there, and so she wasn’t able to get her check.”
This claim initiated by Brantley is one of the largest claims for an individual in recent times. The process, Brantley says, is simple: On the homepage for the South Carolina Treasurer’s Office, there is a link on the left sidebar labeled “Palmetto Payback/Unclaimed Property.” This link leads to a page with two more links, one to “Search for Unclaimed Property” and the other to “Report Unclaimed Property.” Follow the search link to the next page, where “CLICK HERE TO SEARCH YOUR NAME” will initiate a database inquiry for any unclaimed properties in your name.
Brantley recommends searching under any and all variations of your name.
Now, if your name is commonly misspelled, if you get mail sometimes–like my name is Brantley; I get mail for Bradley. My name is spelled B-R-A-N-T-L-E-Y. Sometimes I get mail: B-R-A-N-T-L-Y. So, I use that–use that as a tool. Check these common misspellings. You may find something. You may find a maiden name or whatever that’s common to someone you may know.
According to Loftis, large sums have already been claimed, but there’s still a lot out there.
We gave back about $13 million last year to the rightful owners. There were about 12,000 claims. We collect a lot more money like that, but we have a hard time finding people. And that money is used by the state until we find it, but it’s always here. It’s in trust, so we have to give that money back when we find someone.
Not only is the money for individuals, but for businesses as well. Whatever the case, the Palmetto Payback program has made a believer out of Brantley: “I have trouble convincing people that this is for real. It is not some internet scam.”