Every time I get an email from a Nigerian official bearing the news that deceased royalty has inexplicably left me a huge sum of money, I can’t help but wish it really were true. So when a man in South Carolina got a phone call informing him he was due $763,000 in unclaimed cash, it’s not surprising he thought the whole thing was a scam. Except this time, it wasn’t.
It all started when the recipient’s son got a phone call from state treasurer Curtis Loftis, who had been trying to reach his father to let him know there was a quarter of a million dollars in unclaimed funds that had been waiting for him for more than a decade. Loftis is also the president of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, and as such, makes it his mission to return unclaimed money to its rightful owners.
It wasn’t easy in this case: The money was from the man’s father, who had passed away more than 15 years ago. Loftis had to use Facebook to track down the heir, ultimately finding the son, who convinced his dad to call the treasurer back, despite his suspicions that the whole thing was a scam.
The treasurer tells The New York Times he even offered to drive to a Starbucks to meet the heir in public to prove the offer was valid. Finally, the man was convinced he was really about to be a lot richer.
“I’m so happy that we are able to return the money to the rightful heir,” Loftis said in a statement.
The recipient doesn’t know what he’ll do with the money, but he sure is grateful it’s his.
“We had no idea we had this much money waiting for us,” he said, praising Loftis for tracking him down.
If you’re wondering whether there’s a pile of money somewhere out there for you, it’s always a good idea to check with your state’s online unclaimed money division.
“No one on the planet believes that they have money waiting for them,” he told the Times, adding that there’s about a one in four chance of having unclaimed property.
Not everyone will get such a large sum, of course, as Loftis says this $763,000 award is the largest the state has ever paid out.
“You have about a one in four chance of having unclaimed property,” Loftis said.