DES MOINES – “A stop by the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt booth during the Iowa State Fair paid off for many fairgoers,” State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald stated. “Many people took advantage of our on-site online claims process. Over 31,000 searches were conducted and 3,685 unclaimed properties were claimed, totaling $343,206.70 in value.” Individuals also had the option to share unclaimed property information by email to their family and friends. Over 550 shares were sent out via email. The largest claim discovered was $17,123.21. Before the state fair wrapped up, 344 claims were paid out to fairgoers that filed their claim at the booth.
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $267 million in unclaimed property to more than 592,000 people since Fitzgerald created it in 1983. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property’s owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report unclaimed property to the state treasurer’s office. The assets are then held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits and safe deposit box contents.
“Every year, we continue to have great success with the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt booth at the Iowa State Fair,” said Fitzgerald. “We are dedicated to reuniting Iowans with their missing money and property.”