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Treasurer Torsella Announces New Consumer Protection Measure for Unclaimed Property

Creates policy guidance for lost contact standard

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today announced that the Department has implemented a new policy to better protect consumers from having their investment accounts inadvertently reported as unclaimed property.

"Today’s announcement represents Treasury taking proactive steps to develop a policy designed to safeguard and protect Pennsylvania’s consumers. In doing so, Treasury has implemented a second rule in order to ensure that investment accounts – specifically, long-term passive investment accounts – are truly abandoned and lost before being reported to Treasury."

Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella

Under Pennsylvania law, businesses are required to report unclaimed property to Treasury. Each year, Treasury receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property – items such as abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks or shareholder accounts, uncashed checks, and contents of safety deposit boxes. The property remains available for claim by the owners or their heirs in perpetuity and Treasury serves as the custodian until it can find and return the property to its rightful legal owner.

Treasury’s inclusion of a “lost contact” standard will help to prevent the reporting of securities that are not abandoned, but merely buy-and-hold investments. For non-retirement investment accounts (e.g accounts with brokers, financial service providers, etc.), Treasury will require a double threshold to be satisfied before the property is deemed to be “abandoned and unclaimed.” Before the property is considered “unclaimed,” and therefore reportable to the Commonwealth, the holder must have “lost contact” with the owner and the owner must not have had any contact or activity in the account for a period of three years.

Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned a record amount of unclaimed property to Pennsylvania taxpayers, returning almost $228 million, in Fiscal Year 2016-17.

In June, Good Morning America partnered with Treasurer Torsella to present the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a check for $91,505.04.

Claimants may search Treasury’s website for unclaimed property, or Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property is also available toll-free at 1-800-222-2046, to help conduct a thorough search for unclaimed property.

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