While reporting my Sunday column about the $411 million sitting in a federal refund account, I spoke to one man who said his tax preparer checked to see whether he was owed any money, but said he found nothing. It's likely the tax preparer went to missingmoney.com, which includes tax refunds, lost bank accounts, insurance payouts and all sorts of other unclaimed property. It doesn't, however, include hundreds of thousands of refunds for up-front mortgage payments - to find those, you can search this site (Minnesota homebuyers only, data current as of November 2012) or this one (nationwide, most updated).
In August, my colleague Jennifer Bjorhus reported on the Minnesota Department of Commerce's $606 million unclaimed property stockpile. This story also included a searchable database. The question there, as in the HUD refund case, is how hard the government should work to reunite people with their money. I also wonder how many more caches of cash are out there.