BOSTON (MainStreet) -- It may not be enough to balance the budget, but if government officials are serious about capturing revenue, they can try just looking under their nose.
State by state, government agencies have thousands upon thousands of unclaimed money accounts -- checks that were never cashed, payments lost in the mail and settlements never claimed.
The same holds true for corporations who, despite their laser beam focus on the bottom line, have potentially million drifting in limbo.
In accordance with state and federal laws, assets deemed unclaimed or abandoned after a set period are held in trust by states. Laws vary, but after a set amount of time these assets are seized.
While it may be understandable that an individual loses track of that savings account from Aunt Gladys, it is harder to swallow that government and big business alike aren't reclaiming money that can easily be found and reclaimed by visiting a few websites.
Mary Pittman, author of The Little Book of Missing Money: A Quick and Easy Guide to Finding Money that is Rightfully Yours, says her hobby and avocation had always been to seek out missing money for individuals. On a lark, she wondered what would happen if she looked up her bank, Wachovia (Stock Quote: WB).
"I was blown away by the number of listings," she says of the hundreds she found. "It never crossed my mind that businesses would be there."
"I don't think people realize how it impacts them when it involves corporations," she adds, offering that the unclaimed money would be put to good use creating jobs and making good on shareholder responsibilities.
Pittman turned her attention to the government. What she founds was "every single branch of government" had unclaimed money held by states. Among them: the IRS, Social Security, the Veterans Administration, Homeland Security, the FBI and CIA.
"My favorite is the U.S. Mint," she says. "I find it humorous that the people who make money don't know they are missing money."