4 Ways to Get Lost Money from Government Agencies

The IRS is returning more than $150 million in undelivered tax refund checks. Here's how you can cash in.

I just read that the IRS is looking to return more than $150 million in undelivered tax refund checks. Is this a scam? And if it’s a legitimate announcement, is there a way to track down lost money from other government agencies, too?

Although there are plenty of scam artists who claim to be from the IRS, this announcement is for real: The service is holding on to $153.3 million in unclaimed funds from tax refund checks that were returned to the IRS because of mailing-address errors. The average check is $1,547, so it’s worthwhile to do a search using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund? tool if you believe any of this money may be yours, particularly if you have moved in the past few years and did not update your address with the IRS.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.