Making an educated decision about unclaimed funds
November 11, 2021
When searching for unclaimed funds, Surrey-based retired primary school teacher Sue Wallace first did her homework.
She initially became aware of BC's unclaimed property program three years ago after reading about the BC Unclaimed in her local community newspaper. She visited BC Unclaimed’s website and noted there was an amount listed under her name, "Susan Wallace" in the unclaimed property database. "I just dismissed it at the time," she recalled, thinking that the balance couldn’t possibly belong to her.
It wasn't until February 2020 after her son noticed her name in BC Unclaimed's database and encouraged her to investigate further, that she decided to take a second look. "It was during the COVID lockdown, and I had nothing but time on my hands, so I thought I'd give it a try," she said.
After finding her name in the database, Sue was still skeptical. "I was also intrigued that there might be some unclaimed money there," she recalled. Sue reviewed BC Unclaimed’s website with a critical eye, gaining a better understanding of the organization, who was behind it, their philanthropic business model, and the procedure for filing a claim. "That really helped,” she said. “Doing more research helped sway me to continue."
She contacted BC Unclaimed through the website to find out more information about the balance listed in her name. "Even though the website stated that due to COVID it would take them a while to get back to me, I heard back from them fairly quickly acknowledging receipt of my inquiry," she said. "Their communication was very prompt, professional, and friendly."
BC Unclaimed's reply to her inquiry indicated the funds were from a dormant credit union account.
Sue recalled opening a Vancity credit union account in 1974 where her brother once worked. She withdrew most of the money from the account before moving to Burns Lake, BC to take a new teaching job in 1978. She arranged for her credit union statements to be forwarded to her parents' home in Surrey. Her parents eventually moved away, and the credit union account was then forgotten.
After hearing back from BC Unclaimed, Sue admits she was still a little apprehensive when asked to provide two pieces of identification and proof of her former credit union account to verify her claim. "It was a bit of a leap of faith, but I thought why not?"
When asked to provide an old credit union statement, she thought, "what are the chances I might still have a statement?" But after an exhaustive search, she located a piece of forwarded mail from the credit union, which she sent to BC Unclaimed.
Shortly after all the documentation was received and confirmed, Sue received a cheque for $150.
"I was thrilled," she said. "I called my son and told him about it, and he joked that he should get a finder's fee. He didn't get one," she laughed.
"It's a great service. The whole process was seamless. I’ve since told many of my friends that they should visit the website and search for their name. You never know. You just might find some money you didn’t know you had."
Have you found unclaimed money through BC Unclaimed? We'd like to hear from you. BC Unclaimed is looking for claimants who'd like to share their success stories on how they were reunited with their forgotten funds. To share your unclaimed property story, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from BC Unclaimed
New Brunswick launches unclaimed property program
On January 1, 2022, New Brunswick became the fourth Canadian province to implement an unclaimed property program.
What the new federal government has planned for unclaimed assets
The government proposed to modernize the federal unclaimed assets regime and expand the scope of the program.
An international look at unclaimed property programs
BC Unclaimed’s Executive Director presented to the NAUPA conference on BC’s unclaimed property program.