Consumers Corner # 15
You may have unclaimed cash
waiting for you in Harrisburg
By Jim Murphy
I always thought the unclaimed property newspaper and radio ads were a joke.
But I was wrong. You really could be a winner. Just as Old Pine Community Center’s executive director April Thomas-Jones was last year.
After I wrote an Old Pine Community Center blog on the subject in early 2016, she examined the Pennsylvania Treasury List, found her name in two places she had lived earlier, and received checks for $23 and $132. It took about four to six weeks for April to get her money.
Recently, after seeing an ad from the Pennsylvania Treasurer in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I looked at a new online list one Friday afternoon. In about ten minutes, I found four of my wife’s relatives on the list and passed the info on to them.
The $2.3 billion worth of unclaimed property in the Pennsylvania Treasury comes from a variety of sources.
- Abandoned bank accounts
- Forgotten stocks
- Uncashed checks
- Certificates of Deposit
- Life insurance policies
- Safe deposit box contents
- Recovered stolen property
1 in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property
Last year, Pennsylvania returned more than $190 million of unclaimed property. This year, some of that might be yours.
You can check the list two ways:
- Go online to: patreasury.gov and search for your name or business.
- Call 800-222-2046.
The database will not list anything with a cash value under $5. But it will indicate the city or town, zip code and whether the property is valued at under or over $100 If you see your name online, click on the left-hand claim box and request a claim form. Or you can get help by phone.
You really have nothing to lose. So check it out. And let us know if you found any unclaimed property.
Rather than taking your money this year, maybe the state will actually give you some back. Wouldn’t that be a treat!
Elderly at high risk
for financial crimes
Asked why he robbed banks, the infamous Willie Sutton reportedly said, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Today, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), seniors are the new target. Why? “Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.” As a result, financial scams against seniors are so prevalent they’re now considered the crime of the 21st century,” NCOA says.
All in the family
Unfortunately, it’s also often a family affair, too. Some 90 percent of all reported financial abuse is committed by family members, NCOA says, “most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.”
The National Center on Elder Abuse has somewhat different figures. In a study of financial exploitation of 4,156 older adults, it pinpointed family members as the most common perpetrators at 57.9 per cent, followed by friends and neighbors at 16.9 per cent and home care aides at 14.9 per cent.
Making the problem more complicated is the fact that many elderly are too embarrassed to report a crime of elder abuse. Some are afraid of losing their independence if their children discover money is missing. So they keep it quiet
Allianz Life in a study called “Safeguarding Our Seniors,” says more than one third of elders have experienced some type of financial abuse or exploitation, with an average loss of $36,000 per incident. Obviously, it is a major problem.
Where to get help:
In future issues, we will run additional stories on the subject of elder abuse and what to look for.
In the meantime, if you suspect a problem, call:
- The local police
- Your bank
- Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Helpline 24/7: 215-765-9040
- Adult Protective Services: 800-490-8505
- Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116, or visit their website at:eldercare.gov.
Yup. Over 1,000 lobbyists worked in some capacity for the pharmaceutical and health products industry early this year, reports the New York Times. Lobbyist spending in that segment grew 14 percent in the first quarter, “in part because both parties seem keen to rein in drug price rises.“ OpenSecrets.org says the total annual lobbying spend is over $78 million. With all that lobbying power, wanna bet pharmacy and health products prices don’t go down this year?
11 Children a Week
Unfortunately, that’s how many children died in motor vehicle accidents from 2010 to 2104, says the New York Times, or a total of 2,885.
Most of those who died were not wearing seat belts; others were sitting inappropriately in the front seat or riding in cars driving by a person under the influence of alcohol.
Believe it or not, that’s the number of vacation days Americans did not take in 2016. Some 54% of employees ended the year with unused time off, says a study by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off.
Interestingly, says Fortune.com, those who forfeit time off are lower performers. They are less likely to have been promoted in the last year, or to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years. They also were more likely to report being stressed. Not a surprise.
PHILLY FUN FACT
To promote his new colony in America and give “public notice of it to the World,” William Penn wrote promotional pamphlets encouraging people to come to Pennsylvania.
Among other things, he noted that: “The place lies 600 miles near the Sun than England” … and is “about the Latitude of Naples in Italy.”
Take that, cold, dark England!
“Money” Photo courtesy of Janeen via CreativeCommons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/noodle/2867424626
Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. He also is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.
Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.