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Just about everyone is looking for a little extra cash right now, and here's one way that might help. Search for money that belongs to you, but is being held by the government. A site called Missing Money can help you do exactly that, and it's easy and free.

State laws required companies and governments that have money belonging to you to turn it over if you can't be found. You might have forgotten about a bank account you had, and you may have long moved away from the address the bank had on file for you. You may have a balance in a retirement fund from a job you had 15 years ago, and they've lost track of you. There may be a tax refund that you never received because your check was returned to the Internal Revenue Service as undeliverable by the post office.

States collect these fund and attach your name to them, in case you ever decide to claim the money. Missing Money has tapped into the databases maintained by most states to offer you an easy way to search for your own name. If you find funds that belong to you, the site will help you submit your information to the appropriate agency to collect your money. How much easier could it be?

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information on the site, or whether people have used it successfully, but it seems worth a try. After all you have nothing to lose... only money to find!

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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