The annual Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt has officially launched as State Auditor Charlie Daniels is seeking to return more than $220 million in abandoned and misplaced items to their rightful owners.
Some of the items include abandoned cash, stocks, bonds, jewelry and other assets that were turned over to the Auditor’s office under Arkansas’ Unclaimed Property Program. In the past year, a new $33.5 million in unclaimed property has been submitted to the Auditor’s office for collection.
Daniels said he has deployed new techniques to connect owners with their displaced assets.
“Through a new direct mail outreach and an increased social media presence, we’re easily clearing the biggest hurdle we face each year, public awareness. But getting the word out about unclaimed property through the newspaper ads and Facebook is just the first step,” said Daniels. “The key to getting the most money back into the hands of the original owners is spreading the word to your friends, family, neighbors and teachers.”
Daniels said his office has sent 27,000 letters directly to potential owners of unclaimed property. A new online filing option has freed up staff to be more proactive in its outreach efforts.
Daniels’ office paid $13.4 million in claims last year and he said he is on track to outpace that in 2014.
“We have already returned $15.6 million in unclaimed funds to owners across Arkansas. With online filing, social media exposure and our new direct outreach, this could be the biggest Treasure Hunt yet,” Daniels said.